Rural theatre making a comeback

Organic Theatre, Bharat Bhavan’s novel initiative, tries to reinvent Kerala’s agrarian culture and rural theatre

Published: 23rd March 2017 09:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th March 2017 04:26 AM   |  A+A-

Minister A K Balan inaugurating Organic Theatre

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Imagine a farmland that doubles up as a platform for theatre artists in the evenings. Something straight out of a Kerala countryside in the past, the scene is all set to come alive once again, thanks to a novel initiative by Bharat Bhavan. Organic Theatre, a creative endeavour to reinvent Kerala’s agrarian culture and rural theatre, will go on floors this June in Thiruvananthapuram. “As the first step, a three-day workshop is being held, two representatives from each district are part of it,” says Pramod Payyannur, secretary, Bharat Bhavan.

Those who are genuinely interested in both farming and theatre can get involved in the process. “As part of the initiative, we will find one acre of land in all 14 districts to start organic farming,” he says. Those who come forward to do farming will be provided with all guidelines and instructions from a panel of experts. “In three months, the land will be converted into a farmland growing paddy or vegetables,” adds Pramod.  
Near the farmland a theatre workshop will be opened where the artists will practise. “It’s not that some people will be doing just farming while others take over the play.
All of them will be involved in both the activities going on. And we are keen on selecting plays that deal with agrarian life and themes with some social relevance,” he says.    

Venpakal in Neyyattinkara will be the first place in Kerala to start organic theatre. “Along with the farming, rehersals of Edasseri’s Kootukrishi will start. “On the day of harvest, the play will be staged,” he adds. The products from the farm will be sold for a reasonable price through Horticorp. The farming at Venpakal starts on June 1 and after three months Organic Theatre will spread to other districts as well. “Then there will be a total of 14 organic farmlands in Kerala as part of this initiative. And the 14 plays will be staged at various places and we are even planning a festival,” he says.
The workshop involves seminars and discussions on related topics where experts in both fields will participate.
On the last day of the workshop on March 24, there will be talks on topics like Interrelation between Theatre and Farming, Theatrical Possibilities of Agrarian Folk songs and A Brief Look at Contemporary Indian Rural Theatre. In the evening, there will be a presentation of agrarian poems.


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