BENGALURU: Job losses, pay cuts and survival struggles... The wrath of the Covid pandemic has left many in the lurch. This was the trigger for Arundhati Nag, the founder of theatre space Ranga Shankara, to start a programme, ‘RS Connect’, which she hopes will give the audience community a reason to visit and unwind at the theatre. Once a space that hosted 400 shows a year, the last six months or so have seen no activity at the premises.
But that is all set to change on Sept. 6, when the space in JP Nagar will open its doors to a limited audience (maximum 60 people), with a talk by Dr Shekhar Seshadri, senior professor, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Associate Dean, Behavioural Sciences, NIMHANS. While the three-part digital talk between Nag and Seshadri will be streamed on RS’ YouTube channel every day starting Sept. 3, she points out that this new community outreach programme in the setting of a new normal.
“There’s a need for people to reclaim their me-time, which this offline event is an attempt at. There’s a need to rekindle art in everyone’s life as people are consumed on WhatsApp, Zoom or Google Meet. We want people to just come and engage with art,” she says. “Right now, we need to build back the space brick by brick, audience by audience.”
Even as the artist community is facing the heat of the pandemic, Nag has decided that anyone can walk in sans tickets. “It is a means to reach out and connect with audiences and artistes, while providing them an opportunity to explore different aspects of the arts and human life,” she says, adding that the online conversations will address the impacts of Covid-19 across three verticals – children and parenting, uncertainty and insecurity, and people with special needs (including the elderly and differently-abled), in the current scenario.
At this point, the talks are scheduled every week with Seshadri, and will be interspersed with short cultural programmes featuring poetry, painting or storytelling. “As such, ‘RS Connect’ will have many structured and specially-curated components related to theatre, dance, music, visual arts, skill-building, readings, poetry, talks, and well-being, catering to people of all age groups and from all walks of life,” says Nag. In October, which also happens to be the anniversary month of Ranga Shankara, they plan to re-start performances. “We don’t want to hurry up either. We are awaiting details from the government,” says Nag. The online talks on will be followed by a session at Ranga Shankara on Sep 6, at 5:30pm. Details available on their Facebook page