Ten days, 15 troupes, 20 performances — Nandikar’s 29th National Theatre Festival is all set to begin on December 16 at the Academy of Fine Arts.
An annual event in Calcutta’s cultural calendar, the festival will have a special North-East chapter (two groups from Assam and one from Manipur will perform) this year. Groups from Odisha, Chandigarh, Delhi, Maharashtra and Bangladesh will stage their productions along with those from Bengal.
Children’s theatre, like other years, occupies pride of place, with plays from Mumbai and Calcutta.
Nandikar will also host exhibitions on “Theatre in the North-East” and playwright Mohit Chattopadhyay on the Academy premises.
“When we started the festival in 1984, one of our objectives was that the cultural community should make its own contribution, even if in a small way, towards countering the divisive and disintegrating tendencies in the subcontinent,” said Rudraprasad Sengupta of Nandikar.
“This is what spurred us to plan a North-East chapter this year in the wake of the recent attacks on people from the North-East in some parts of the country,” he added.
It’s an “annual pilgrimage” for IT professional Chandrakana Lahiri. “All my colleagues know I will be on leave for those 10 days,” she said while glancing through the festival schedule at the Academy ticket counter.
Nandikar will stage two of its plays — Hridmajhaare and Madhabi — on the inaugural and concluding days respectively. Dhaka Theatre, Bangladesh, will present Rubayet Ahmed’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Baa — The Creative Breeze from Assam will bring an Assamese version of Habib Tanvir’s Charandas Chor. Seagull, Assam, will present The Green Serpent, a play that explores how humans — both the oppressor and the oppressed — react and relate to each other in changed times.
Tickets are available on the premises.