New Year, new collaborations
The recently concluded inaugral edition of FocusPK, a conference that was held to initiate insightful conversations regarding the development of Pakistan’s entertainment industry, shed significant light on the state of theatre in Pakistan. It not only highlighted issues confronting the local theatre scene but also pinpointed possible measures that could improve the situation.
Theatre veteran Zain Ahmed, who was part of a panel session dedicated to theatre talk, shared the revenue-sharing-model of NAPA that aims to provide financial support to aspiring theatre artists.
According to the proposed model, they will not charge NAPA graduates and other young thespians anything for the venue but will share the revenue instead.
Going by the plan, the experts at NAPA are gearing up for their first series of theatre and music performances that will allow budding artists to showcase their work in front of a wider audience without strangling them with severe financial burden.
“It is very hard for new comers to find sponsors,” Ahmed told Instep. “We’ve done the budgeting in a way that it will put no burden on them. They come to us with their proposals and we provide them the venue as well as other facilities. We share the risk and I believe this is a fairer way to do it. However, it is their job to market their product and generate the audience. They can’t rely on us for everything, they need to learn to sustain themselves on their own.”
Titled Young Performers Theatre and Music Series, the event will take place from January 13 till January 22. The 10-day affair will feature the work of NAPA graduates (mostly debutants) who will present 12 plays and some music performances.
“There is a fairly diverse set of plays that will be presented at the event,” Ahmed explained. “Some of them are based on scripts written by Pakistani writers, some are adaptations of foreign plays while there are a few original plays as well. The themes for the plays range from serious to comic with some productions based on social issues too.”
Aside from theatre plays, there will be some musical performances as well. Out of the 10 days, two days will be dedicated to music including vocals as well as instrumental.
Reflecting on the kind of music they plan to showcase, Ahmed observed, “These individuals are trying out new ideas. Most of their work reflects the fusion of eastern and western music. This opportunity will allow them to perform to a live audience for the first time. It’s a launching pad for these artists who want to pursue a career in theatre. People will see their work and this will pave the way for more opportunities in the future.”
With such diversified performances coming up later this month, the initiative should attract a sizable audience, especially since the ticket prices are very low and completely affordable. It must also be remembered that the Karachi Theatre Festival, held in the last quarter of 2016, attracted a large number of people and received an overwhelming response.
Sharing his views on the subject, Ahmed noted, “The audience is there; maybe we don’t know how to access them. The price for the tickets should be made affordable. We need sustained efforts in this regard.”
While 2016 saw the inaugural appearance of Karachi Theatre Festival that brought together young and experienced theatre directors on a common platform, this year will mark the addition of another initiative, the Young Performers Theatre and Music Series.
“We’re trying to create events that can be replicated elsewhere. If we keep working in this direction, it will only result in the growth of theatre,” Ahmed concluded optimistically.