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World Theatre Day celebrations marred by coronavirus

by Pakistan Latest News Update

LAHORE: Friday, March 27, marked World Theatre Day however as anticipated, the outbreak of coronavirus throughout main nations of the world has put a damper on the celebrations.

Like many different types of performing arts, theatre too has taken successful within the pandemic, with the world’s largest stage – NYC’s Broadway – additionally drawing curtains on productions and performances in the interim. Contemplating this, it’s no shock that each one occasions and exhibits scheduled for World Theatre Day throughout the globe couldn’t see the sunshine of day.

However right here in Pakistan, stakeholders are coping with extra than simply the after-effects of a lethal pandemic. Artists employed within the theatre business repeatedly say that the federal government is complacent about it, usually utterly overlooking its significance as a driver of social change and a medium of creative expression.


Pakistani theatre has a wealthy historical past and at present, the nation boasts of two types of theatre: parallel and business. In accordance with sources, each varieties are struggling tremendously. The latter isn’t doing properly regardless of the work of some well-known parallel theatre teams just like the Ajoka Theatre and Azad Theatre.

“The state of parallel theatre in Pakistan is akin to a patient that is dependent on a ventilator for survival and this is only due to the negligent behaviour of the governments over many years,” theatre artist Afzal Nabi advised The Categorical Tribune.

Ajoka Theatre co-founder and author Shahid Nadeem additionally echoed Nabi’s disappointment on the timing of the World Theatre Day. “It’s unfortunate that this day came at a very troublesome time, when coronavirus is wreaking havoc all over the world. It’s especially sad because it was extremely significant for Pakistan and Ajoka Theatre since the International Theatre Institute (ITI) had invited me to write and speak for the world theatre community,” he stated.

Shahid’s message, titled ‘Theatre as a Shrine’, has been distributed through ITI associates to over 90 nations and has been translated to nearly 60 languages. It goals to focus on the non secular facet of performing arts on the subject of Ajoka Theatre experimenting with a brand new type of theatre, which the group refers to as ‘Sufi Theatre.’

“The honour bestowed on me was not just a great one for me or for Ajoka but for the entire Pakistani theatre community and Pakistan itself. It would cement the fact that parallel theatre in Pakistan has come a long way from the agit-prop days in the Ziaul-Haq era,” stated Shahid.  “Needless to say, the work of parallel theatre groups like Ajoka has inspired many young artists-cum-activists to play a useful role in society and meet the challenges posed by authoritarian state and non-state actors.”


He additionally added that his message could be learn and printed by main theatre teams all around the world and the Ajoka Theatre marked the event by releasing a recorded model of it on March 26.

However alas, the fact on floor is bleak. “Theatre could not flourish to its maximum extent due to the lack of support from relevant authorities and today, majority of the stakeholders are at risk. Even though there are many art councils, there are hardly any performances and of course, when there are no performances, how will the industry flourish?” questioned Nabi.

“Right now, one of the biggest issues is the fact that many families avoid attending commercial performances due to vulgarity. We saw a golden time around two decades ago but that’s a thing of the past,” stated senior artist Sheeba Butt. She additionally requested the federal government to offer welfare to artists who’ve labored in theatre their entire lives and contributed a long time to the business.

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