The theatre scene in Chennai seems like a sponge. It doesn’t matter how many new talents get under the spotlight, Chennai theatre will absorb them all and still have space for some more.
Helping the ‘more’ get some much-needed stage time is ASAP Yuva, ASAP Productions’ new youth theatre initiative. Yuva, started by ASAP’s co-founder Amit Singh, aims at encouraging young talent under 25 years to stage their productions by providing funds. “When I started out, I was on my own. I made a lot of mistakes and struggled to stage plays. This venture will take that tension out of the equation and provide a safe commercial circle for youngsters to perform,” says Amit.
Though Chennai already has a young-theatre enthusiast in Crea-Shakthi, who support young talent with their ‘Campus Theatre’ initiative, Amit says that Yuva hopes to overcome limitations that campus theatre brings in. “Chennai’s colleges have really strong theatre teams, but there are drawbacks. For example, Stella Maris, which has a great team, cannot have men in their plays because it is a women’s college. Those are the kind of limitations that Yuva aims to dispel,” says Amit and adds, “All you need is a great script and a committed team.”
To start with, Yuva aims at producing at least six plays a year, in addition to ASAP’s three home productions. But the direction, synonymous with his theatrical comedy, eventually wants to ramp it up to 12 productions a year. “And if the venture proves successful, I want to make it a regular thing — like two productions a month. And with the amount of talent Chennai has, I don’t think that will be a problem,” he adds with a smile.
This pool of bright, young theatre enthusiasts will also prove a ripe picking ground for ASAP’s future productions. And possibly someone to take over the day-to-day management of the theatre group. “The idea is to become self-sustaining rather than just being dependent on one or two people. This will help us connect with young talent, and hopefully, help them connect too,” he says.