Theater is the most powerful medium when it comes to the betterment of society at large. Since days immemorial mankind is familiar with this genre of performing Art. At early stages, story telling did the job for theater as the time passed by it gradually got refined and finally got a polishing through actions and gestures. Present day world know many forms of theatre and using this art form as a key to social update of a society.
Lahore the ages old seat of art and culture has a rich history of theatre and recently a good move has been witnessed by the Lahore Arts Council as it has dedicated Hall 2 at Alhamra Art Center, The Mall to the parallel theater. Before 80s theater was just theatre there had been no discretion of commercial or parallel theater this line was drawn in 80s when commercial theater was introduced to Lahore.Alhamra Arts Center – The Mall
Commercial theater is considered and rightly considered lowbrow thriving on cheap dialogues and dare bare dances. Over the years, it has polluted healthy theatre environment to a great extent. Amidst such a grim situation for theatre Lahore Arts Council’s step to dedicate a hall to parallel theatre is not only praiseworthy but also a wise.
The young theatre groups from amateur sector and that of from educational institutions had no place to show their metal now they have a platform where they can perform without being buckled under hefty hall and electricity charges because the hall is free. A good number of audience wants to enjoy message oriented theatre, the kind of theatre Ajoka has been doing for the last 30 years. If one looks at theatre map in Pakistan one would not find any other theatre group except Ajoka doing so much for a meaningful , objective theatre. From Bullah to Bala King and from Dara Singh to Lo Pphir Basant Ayee Ajoka has been spreading awareness among masses with great passion through the medium of theatre.Ajoka – theater group is staging “Bullah” in Faisalabad, Pakistan
It is however regretful, that Punjab Council of Arts, PCA) which has 9 divisional arts councils under it has not done much for the promotion of theatre. With the kind of resources and budget the council has it could have done wonders. Punjab Council of Arts, PCA has such a broad canvas to paint with colours of theatre that through the council’s platform masses can be educated through street and nukar theatre in districts along with mainstream theatre. It should hold divisional level theatre festivals inviting local theatre groups to stage plays and finally holding a grand festival of such plays at Lahore.
The government run councils Lahore Arts Council , Punjab Council of Arts and Pakistan National Conference of Arts are not showing interest in holding theatre workshops for the interested candidates so that fresh talent can be introduced to the stage cosmos of the country. New script writers are badly needed for renewed thought process that should connect us with the most rich era of 70s when it comes to creativity. Opening doors to a healthy, objective , message oriented theatre would mean a better society.
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