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The number of platforms that encourage theatre is on the rise but is there an audience who are interested in watching these plays on a regular basis? Metrolife interacted with a few professionals in the theatre field. 

Arundathi Nag, founder of Ranga Shankara, feels that the theatre scene in Bangalore is doing well. “It’s great to see a lot of youngsters galvanising teams and trying their hand at different forms of theatre. I strongly feel training is important to recognise your own skill. It is a necessity, especially in a country that has a billion people and just 20 students per year graduating from the National School of Drama.”

Kamal Pruthi, artistic director for ‘Museum Theatre’, has been in the field for the last 15 years. He says, “It’s getting popular at the college level. For example, NIFT had an all-India theatre festival in which a lot of youngsters participated. We do have college and campus theatre festivals in other cities but Bangalore’s theatre field needs to develop and the colleges here need to have trained teachers.”

He adds, “Getting an audience to watch a play is a challenge, as is pumping new stuff and having more activities. There are dedicated theatre audiences but getting new people who have no clue about what play to watch is the main challenge.” He suggests, “We need to work from the ground level — spread the word — getting friends to watch a play is not enough. We need to get our neighbours, landlords and people we meet on a daily basis, and introduce them to theatre.”

Shiva Pathak, a co-founder of ‘Sandbox Collective’ feels that more people have been introduced to the arts thanks to venues like Ranga Shankara  and Jagriti but she isn’t sure if they have a regular audience. “As even the most well established artists and performers are pretty nervous before shows, one can never be sure if a show will sell.” 

Making theatre a career is difficult feels Arundathi. “As a professional, we need to work a little more and nurture the eco-system and get corporates to come forward to fund repositories. Just like you have corporate funding for hockey, kabaddi and football, we need to have something for theatre as well.”

For Arundathi, the biggest investment we need to make in our country is towards children’s theatre. “We need to have more vibrant theatre festivals for children and dedicated spaces that showcase a high quality of work for children. We need to have our children watching theatre because all they are watching is television. There is a world of reality which theatre can show and they need to see that.”

She sums up, “Theatre is live, it’s art and it is about giving youngsters a sense of right and wrong without being dilated. It’s about telling stories, and about human communication.” 

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