Ranga Shankara is among the theatre spaces in Bengaluru planning physical shows from January. Once the government eased restrictions, the premier theatre in JP Nagar began holding readings, talks, and dance, music, and theatre sessions in the foyer. The space is airy, open and seats 30 with physical distancing.
“Since September, we have had events for children, play readings and more. Our annual theatre festival and mango party went digital for the first time,” says Samyuktha Manogaran, programme associate. “From this week up until the reopening in January, troupes from Bengaluru are putting up daily theatre readings and singing theatre songs in the foyer,” she says.
Atta Galatta, a bookstore in Koramangala with a performance space, had never ventured into the online space before the pandemic.
“We shut for four months since the first lockdown. We’re currently working on a new space in Indiranagar so all our events have been online,” says Lakshmi Shankar, co-founder.
The store held its annual poetry festival online and has held online events to keep the community active. “Our focus has always been physical events and I only see it happening once a vaccine is announced,” she says.
The online events see a decent crowd but online fatigue, she feels, has set in and the engagement is low.
“People are ready to go out. We saw that at the Bangalore Literature Festival where we had a stall.” “About 600 people came for the two-day festival,” she says.
Yours Truly Theatre, Indiranagar, had their last offline performance on March 8. It took them a month after lockdown started to reimagine their performances for the online space.
“There was still a demand for workshops, so we began them in May. We had a completely new student base,” says Pranav Pathak, lead instructor and actor.
Performances during the last few months have ranged from improvs to radio shows. “We’re cautious about opening up because there is talk of a second wave and a few in our group have tested positive. But we’re hoping to go back to offline events in January,” he says. The group is in no hurry to take things offline as its online workshops are bringing in enough revenue. “We hope to continue with a hybrid mode even after the pandemic,” he says.
Back to the stage
Theatre stalwarts Arundhati Nag, B Jayashree and Nagabharana were present at the Wednesday event, heralding a return to the good old days when plays were watched by a live audience. Check the Ranga Shankara website and Twitter account for schedules and updates.