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Reviving Theatre in Kashmir

November 21, 2023

In a first, the Rashtriya Natya Vidyalaya, Rangmandal’s ‘Srinagar Theatre Festival, 2023’ was held in Srinagar city recently. The five-day-long festival showcased a diverse range of theatrical performances and brought well-known theatre personalities to the Kashmir valley. At the concluding event of the festival, Pradeep Kumar Mohanty, Chancellor of Rashtriya Natya School highlighted the importance of enriching the theatrical landscape in Jammu and Kashmir. He also spoke about the various schemes and initiatives that Rashtriya Theatre School is undertaking to promote and nurture the vibrant theatre culture in the region. The roots of theatrical tradition in Kashmir trace back centuries, with a historical legacy embedded in folk performances, street plays and traditional art forms. However, theatre activities of late had taken a backseat. Now, boosting theatre activities in the Kashmir Valley demands a comprehensive and nuanced approach that encompasses various facets of development. Infrastructure development serves as the foundational pillar for fostering a thriving theatre culture. Investing in the creation and renovation of theatre spaces with modern facilities provides artists with conducive environments for rehearsals and performances. Additionally, the development of amphitheaters, open-air spaces that can accommodate larger audiences, caters to the diverse cultural events inherent in the Kashmiri ethos. Financial support is imperative for the sustenance and growth of theatre activities. Providing grants, subsidies, and financial assistance to theatre groups and artists eases the financial burden associated with production costs. Allocating funds for training programs and skill development initiatives ensures a continuous influx of talented individuals into the theatre community. Cultural festivals and events play a pivotal role in creating a vibrant theatre scene. Organizing regular theatre festivals brings together local and national talent, providing a platform for artists to showcase their work. Integrating theatre performances into broader cultural events serves the dual purpose of attracting a wider audience and enriching the cultural tapestry of the region. Educational initiatives are essential for nurturing the future of Kashmiri theatre. Establishing theatre education programs in schools and colleges nurtures young talent, fostering a sustainable pipeline of artists. Introducing scholarships and financial incentives for students pursuing theatre education acts as a catalyst for the next generation of theatre practitioners. Collaboration and networking are catalysts for growth in the theatre community. Facilitating collaborations between local theatre groups and national or international organizations allows for the exchange of knowledge, skills, and experiences. Creating networking platforms provides artists with opportunities to connect, share ideas, and collaborate on innovative projects. Promotion and marketing are integral for enhancing the visibility of theatre activities. Launching cultural promotion campaigns raises awareness about theatre as an art form and underscores its significance in Kashmiri culture. Leveraging digital platforms and social media for marketing and promoting upcoming events ensures a broader reach and diverse audience engagement. Community engagement is the essence of a vibrant theatre culture. Regular theatre workshops conducted in communities encourage participation and generate interest in theatrical activities. Therefore, the government should provide the necessary infrastructure for the revival and boosting of theatre in the Kashmir valley.

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