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8th Theatre Olympics comes to Mumbai

The city is co-hosting the world’s largest stage festival, which is being held in India for the first time

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8th Theatre Olympics comes to Mumbai
(Left) Mohe Piya; (right) Pilgrimage
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Theatre lovers have a reason to rejoice. The 8th edition of Theatre Olympics, which is considered to be one of the most prestigious events for performing arts, is being held in India for the first time. It started off in New Delhi last month and will see as many as 25,000 artistes perform 450 productions in 17 cities. After travelling in various parts of the country, it kick-starts in Mumbai from today. Over the next fortnight, as many as 28 Indian and international productions will be staged at Ravindra Natya Mandir in Prabhadevi and the Nehru Centre in Worli. The Mumbai chapter of the event is being organised by the National School of Drama (NSD) in collaboration with the Directorate of Cultural Affairs, Maharashtra.

After every play, audience members will get a chance to interact with the directors. Moreover, a seminar will also be held through which prominent personalities like MK Raina and Arundhati Nag will try to find answers about the dwindling popularity of theatre.

A bouquet of plays

Some of the major productions that will be staged at the festival include Waman Kendre’s Mohe Piya (a recreation of Indian playwright Bhasa’s Sanskrit classic Madhyam Vyayoga), Bengali director Sohag Sen’s Sonata (based on noted Marathi playwright Mahesh Elkunchwar’s play) and a Bengali play Phera, which stars veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee. Among the eight international productions, works such as Shri 420, an Indian adaptation of Molière’s masterful comedy Tartuffe by Australian theatre personalities Saba Zaidi Abdi and Atul Tiwari, Almost Alive by acclaimed Belgium dance artiste Sabine Molenaar and Xuan Zang’s Pilgrimage by a Chinese troupe will be staged.

Waman Kendre, Director of NSD, which is organising the Theatre Olympics in Mumbai, says, “It took us two years to conduct this festival. For decades, we have staged the works of William Shakespeare, Eugene O’ Neill and Anton Chekhov. India has so many famous playwrights like Rabindranath Tagore, Kalidas, Vijay Tendulkar, Girish Karnad and Badal Sircar but we are yet to make an impact in the global arena with their works. This is a good opportunity for us to showcase the rich cultural heritage of India to the world. The purpose of this event is to have a dialogue with the global theatre community. There will be an exchange of thoughts and ideas and we will get to know where our plays stand.”

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