BENGALURU:Theatre is one of the oldest forms of performing arts. Although the city has turned into a cosmopolitan hub for people from various walks of life, it still retains its strong sense of community that has helped theatre thrive. According to Wishberry, a crowdfunding platform for creative artists, Bengaluru is one of the top five cities with an active theatre culture.
The group Bangalore Theatre was formed three years ago. The founder Bharath Kashyap says, “It is for the people who have never been to play, who do not know where to go watch or whom to go with. It is to get together, watch a play and socialise with others.”
A group member Seema Savalgi adds, “It is always better to go in a group than watch it solo. It was nice to meet some strangers. At the end of the evening, we became friends.”
There are about 850 members in the group now. About 10 to 15 of them join and meet once or twice a month to discuss and watch a play. Bharath says, “Most of the members are IT professionals. There are a few single mothers as well who are looking to go out. We watch most of the plays at Ranga Shankara, Jagriti or Chowdiah. After play, we go to grab some coffee, drinks or dinner.”
Among the group of people in 20s and 30s, Bharath adds that there is a British couple who are fairly regular to the meetups. They also join them for drinks or coffee post play.
Tim Poston has travelled across several countries and has been interested in watching plays for about 50 years. He learned about the group through a friend and joined them couple of months ago. He is probably the only senior citizen in the group of IT professionals and other young theatre enthusiasts.
The 70-year- old British national, settled in Bengaluru since 2003, says that he has travelled a lot and dealt with much difficult people. “It (getting along with the rest) was not a problem at all,” he says.
The group last met for the play Under the Mangosteen Tree last weekend. It’s was the first Seema, a freelance books editor, attended. Though she joined the group a while ago, she couldn’t go for any plays. She says, “I found this one interesting and decided to go no matter what. It was my first meetup. It was fun. I learned a lot about theatre. I have done plays during the college days. I had written a few scripts. So, I always wanted to go back to it.”
Shirisha Valluri, a business analyst, feels that there are fewer platforms to check the reviews of the theatre plays. A member who joined the group about six months ago says, “I am a person who enjoys good plays. Unlike movie reviews, there is no good platform that provides reviews of the plays. So, it is good to connect with someone who knows theatre well.”
Bharath is also working on conducting theatre workshops and auditions for the plays. A theatre enthusiast, he has directed and acted in many plays. “I was a theatre artist. But I couldn’t do much in the last few couple of years as I got busy.” Shirisha is also interested in acting in theatre. She says, “I hope to act in future. I have mentioned it to Bharath. I need to figure out time to do it.”