BANGALORE: City artist group Sandbox Collective is turning one this Wednesday and is celebrating it with the play that started it all: Trivial Disasters at The Humming Tree, Indiranagar.
And the play, co-founder Nimi Ravindran says, is particularly special because it’s written by Ajay Krishnan, a playwright whom the group has worked with for several productions. Funny and relevant, she also believes that “it’s a an ideal play to be performed anywhere, to any kind of audience”. Moreover, it was the show that Sandbox started its journey with last September, and has performed it 22 times in different cities since.
Theatre director Nimi Ravindran and stage actor Shiva Pathak’s meeting happen 10 years ago, during a play that they worked on together. They’ve worked with The Great Galatta, separately, as managers, and during the years of acquaintance, a discussion for the need for an artist-run art organisation for art administration began.
“Last year, our discussions turned into reality. We wanted to engage with the arts on all levels...performance-dance, music, theatre and also literature and the visual arts,” says Nimi. And that’s how Sandbox Collective was born.
It has showcased works like Birds Eye View (Tram Theatre, Mumbai), Hamlet - The Clown Prince (Cinematograph, Mumbai) and Fearless (The Storm Factory). Sandbox was also the executive producer of Remote Bangalore (Rimini Protokoll,Germany) presented by Goethe - Institut /Max Mueller Bhavan, an interactive, participatory theatre performance which had a run of 20 shows.
With its Spaces initiative, the collective has striven to take theatre to new spaces, spaces that normally don’t see performances, including houses, offices, restaurants, pubs, libraries and book stores.
“The idea was to try and touch as many lives as possible,” Shiva explains, and as it was a first of its kind initiative, there were several challenges that the group faced. Yet, these challenges, she adds, were also its advantages — strange spaces, limited design and lighting, not to mention performing to an audience just three feet away. “So the audience has to invest as much in the show as the performer,” says the actor.
With over 90 shows to its credit, Sandbox has had performances for big and small audiences alike and has three permanent partners in IIHS in Sadashivnagar, BeaglesLoft in Ulsoor and The Humming Tree. “We perform in all three places every month,” Shiva shares.
It has had four festivals: Lekhana - a literary weekend, Natakotsava - a festival of short, original plays in Kannada, Kamshet Arts Festival - a dusk to dawn festival of dance, music and theatre in Kamshet and The Great Galatta - a festival that brings together theatre practitioners in Bangalore to celebrate World Theatre Day.
The duo describes reaching its first year milestone as an ‘amazing feeling’, and hopes that the coming year will bring as much excitement. “The help, support that we have received from friends and from the arts community has been immense,” Shiva expresses.
Trivial Disasters will go to Coimbatore to perform at a Humour Festival in November, and to Chile on a month-long tour for The Company Theatre’s Piya Behrupiya in January. That’s its second international tour after travelling with Koogu, its first home production, to Kenya in August.