Besides entertainment, theatre also has a special role as a medium of influencing masses
World owes a lot to the field of drama and theater, which have been helping the mankind in every possible way by giving a physical form to internal emotions on stage.
In recognition to the contribution of theater and art, the World Theater Day is celebrated on March 27 every year.
Commemorating the World Theater Day 2018, a wide variety of theater shows and events were conducted across the world on March 27, 2018.
Weeks before the World Theater Day 2018, Nepal celebrated a ten-day-long theater residency comprising of writers and artists from six Asian countries including Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan during March 8-18, 2018.
Marking the significance of the theater among children, Nepal also hosted the World Day of Theater for Children, a campaign organized by ASSITEJ (International Association of Theater for Children and Young People) on March 20, 2018, under the slogan ‘Take a child to the theater, today’.
Nepal, in specific, holds a special place for the field of drama and theater as evident in the presence of many theater groups across the country.
Commemorating the World Theater Day 2018, let’s take a look at some of Nepal’s famous theater groups that are forming base for the Nepali theater industry.
Nepali Theater for A Cause
Besides entertainment, theater also has a special role as a medium of influencing masses.
Nepal has a good number of theater groups that are majorly focused on social justice, peace and harmony, and public welfare, besides art and entertainment.
While some choose closed theater auditoriums, some choose streets to demonstrate their plays.
Aarohan Theater Group, Sarwanam Theater Group, Mandala Theater Group and Achel Natya Samuha are some of the popular theater groups that need a mention when speaking about Nepali theater industry.
Each of the aformentioned groups have a strong intention behind them.
- Aarohan For Theater Revolution: Founded in 1982 by a group of theater workers including Sunil Pokhrel (popular as Theater Guru of Nepal), Aarohan is the first and foremost theater group operating in Kathmandu and other parts of the country. Formed with an objective of bringing a theater revolution in the country, Aarohan has delivered a good number of talented artist to the Nepali theater industry and moved on to create the country’s first theater school for aspiring theater actors. Aaorhan stood up for Nepali theater’s recognition on the global arena.
- Sarwanam For a Cause: This theater group was the part of its founder’s effort to fight against the Panchayati System of Government in the country using theater as medium. Founded in 1982 by Ashesh Malla, the group was known for its play Murdabad ma utheka hathharu (Hands raised in protest) performed by its founder at the Tribhuvan University Auditorium in Kathmandu. The play moved the theater directors and writers across the country. It has eventually grown to become country’s one of the popular theater groups because of its unique plays and has also formed base of alternative theater including symbolic body movements and mime to portray plays on stage unlike the conventional presentation style. The group has organized and played many shows in collaboration with the renowned global organizations such as UN, The Asia Foundation, WWF and Save the Children, among others.
- Mandala for Social Justice: Human rights, social justice and political awareness form the base for the formation of Mandala Theater Group started by a group of young and dedicated theater workers advocating public freedom and peace. Committed to advancement of theater field, the theater covers plays on wide variety of genres such as literature and also works for safeguarding of indigenous theatrical forms that reflect Nepali society and culture.
- Achel Natya Samuha For Fair Society: Contributing to the development of a fair and free society is the key basis for the formation of the group. Through its plays, the groups has been actively producing presentations on various social issues and public concerns.
- Kartik Naach Conservation Committee: This committee is the resultant of efforts to protect Nepal’s traditional and famous dance called Kartik Naach, performed in the month of Kartik. Over the years, the committee has been working for the preservation of the 27-day longKartik Naach festival despite the weak governmental support and fund crunch. Training artistes for almost 3-4 months prior to the festival, the committee brings together hundreds of artistes including musicians for performing the Kartik Naach.
Winning the Critics, Going Global
Contributing to the world of theater and drama, Nepal has been actively hosting and participating in various film and entertainment shows and conferences such as Film South Asia 2017, Nepal Africa Film Festival 2017, New York Nepali Film Festival, Newari Film Festival, Nepal-America International Film Festival 2017, among various others.
Nepali movies, plays, artists, directors and writers have earned wide recognition across the global platforms for their works.
Besides presenting and participating, Nepali artistes also have a special mark across the globally-renowned film institutes. Very recently, renowned Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Pune has selected 30 Nepali film for a three-year course.
Sponsored by the Government of India, the course has a total of Nepal’s leading artistes belonging to the theater and cinema including Sulakshyan Bharati, Pratik Dulal, Sabina Gopali, Malina Joshi Rohit (Rumba) Tamang, Samyam Puri, Parikshit Bickram Rana, among others.
Long Live Theater!
Despite the emergence of different presentation forms, theater has always been special by itself, and in fact formed the base for the today’s most-sought film industry.
However, there are some instances where we observe theater art facing a fade-off due to lack of public and governmental support. For a country like Nepal that boasts of rich forms of traditional art and culture, theater means a lot in promoting the same. Let’s hope the theater gets its needed boost in Nepal like in many other countries and continues contributing to the Nepali society.