Three-day theatre fest from March 25

Sankalpa Mysore, in association with Karnataka Prison Department, is organising three-day theatre fest titled ‘Prison to Prison-Theatre Journey’  to mark World Theatre Day from March 25 to 27 at Nutana Ravindra Mantap, in Mahatma Gandhi Memorial College.

The three-day theatre fest in Udupi will be inaugurated by Superintendent of Police Annamalai. The  plays include ‘Maranayaka’ by H S Shivaprakash,  ‘Bhagavadajjukkiyam- Sule Sanyasi’ by K V Subbanna, ‘Jathegiruvanu Chandira’ by Jayanth Kaikini.

The shows are conducted with the support of Prison ADGP Kamalpanth. Theatre plays would be held in Mumbai in May and in Bengaluru in April, he said.

Briefing reporters, Sankalpa Mysore Director Hulugappa Kattimani said three plays to be screened would comprise of performances by prison inmates sentenced to life. The 30-member team, alongwith other inmates, has already performed in eight towns.
Change in  mindset
The concept of introducing theatre acting to prison inmates evolved about 16 years ago. The first attempt was made in 1997. The theatre camp was organised solely to bring about changes in the mindset of inmates, who led their life in dark within the four walls of the prison.
It all started in Bellary prison, wherein the then Superintendent of Police of Bellary, Gopal Hosur, lent support to rope in the inmates into theatre arena. Later, the same experiment was held in Mysore with encouragement from Kempaiah.
He said theatre acting is a collective effort and helps performers to come out from their limits, in which they have detained themselves.
The three-day theatre fest had been performed in Dharwad with four plays staged on the occasion.
It is heartening to observe that the actors (inmates) after performing their roles aspire for better future and harbour hopes for new life. It is true that they are penalised for the crime sometimes committed decisively or at times unintentionally.
Voluntary participation
Kattimani said the inmates, who were given calls for voluntary participation, enthusiastically took part in the plays. The inmates are mainly from Mysore, Bangalore and Dharwad jails.  
As many as 90 inmates were selected and 30 of them perform once at a time. Although only 30 members take part in the practice of plays, the neighborhood inmates will also be influenced in changing the lifestyle of these prisoners who are into theatre.

They observe their counterparts, while the practice is being held in the prison grounds. Others watch enthusiastically.
The training would be taken up for 45 days and would comprise of yoga, kolata and Kamsale.
Nuances of acting
He said initiatives are also taken up involve these inmates into art, like sculpture carving,  painting,  manufacturing of clay idols,  music composing etc.
Kattimani said before indulging themselves into acting, the inmates read nearly 40 books and watched art movies to get understanding the nuances of acting skills. They are also trained for yoga.
They have not tempted to escape while acting.  Initially female inmates would also take part, however, jail authorities had to face legal issues.
Currently, female artists are from outside. The inmates also work on costume designs.

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