Ace theatre space Ravindra Kalakshetra turns 50

Sound and lighting facility to be upgraded

Ace theatre space Ravindra Kalakshetra turns 50

New theatre spaces may have spawned across the City, but Ravindra Kalakshetra has remained where it is – accommodating some of the most legendary artistes and performances throughout its history. This year, it completes 50 years of existence.

The celebration committee plans to document a dozen artistes who have made huge contributions to the centre over the years, to mark its golden jubilee. Artistes such as R K Srikantan, Maya Rao, Prasanna and B Jayashree will share their experiences vis-a-vis their individual association with the Kalakshetra.

The upcoming Lok Sabha polls have, however, forced the organisers to postpone the
celebrations from March to May.

“One can say the Kalakshetra has managed to contribute immensely to various forms of performing arts because it is the very first cultural centre that came up in Bangalore,” said Sreenivas G Kappanna, artiste and chairman of the celebration committee, who has been associated with the Kalakshetra for over 40 years. “We want to celebrate the contributions artistes have made to this centre over the years, more than the building itself. The intention is to pass on the heritage and culture to the younger generation of performers,” said Kappanna.

“The fact that the Kalakshetra has provided space even for non-performing art forms like chitrakala makes it unique,” Kappanna said. “No matter how big an artiste is, he/she always has a dream of performing at the Kalakshetra. That is only because this environment provides the ideal space for such art forms. For the government, it is just a building, but what goes inside it has had a tremendous impact on the city of Bangalore culturally,” he said.

This apart, the sound and lighting inside the auditorium will be upgraded with the latest technology. A committee headed by D K Chowta, the general secretary of Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, has been set up for the purpose.

“We have made it clear to the department that we do not want any tendering process. What is needed is the latest sound-and-light technology. What use is theatre of, if there is no audio-visual impact? Kalakshetra is one of the best centres in south India,” said Chowta.

“Even though the contributions of the centre are immense, it has been ignored constantly. One cannot calculate the profit and loss from here, since it is all about art. But this has been a platform which has nourished some of the best artistes in the country,” said Chowta.

The Department of Kannada and Culture as well as the Public Works Department had promised to upgrade the space several times, but there was always some problem or the other. This year, however, they have agreed to our demands,” he said.

The last time the Kalakshetra got a facelift was four years ago.

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