The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Clubbed together on common platform

In April, it was an inter-club sports carnival with the participation of national and international clubs. In June, it’s the “first-ever” inter-club theatre festival with six institutions taking the stage. Coming up next in July is an inter-club youth festival in music and sport. The purpose behind all the activity is to “build better relationships between clubs” and the reason behind these “initiatives with new concepts” is that “Calcutta clubs are becoming friendlier”.

Theatre is the flavour of the season, and six clubs of Calcutta are making the most of it. It is a theatre festival with a difference. The aim is to provide a common platform for some of Calcutta’s clubs to come together, against the backdrop of financial and labour troubles plaguing some of the hallowed institutions.

“Creativity, imagination, fun and hard work” are the ingredients of this formula for success. Some are amateurs, while others are accustomed to the stage. But the common factor for the actors and directors is that they are all members of the clubs.

The six Bengali plays have been chosen and produced by the members themselves, with only technical support from outside. At the moment, rehearsals are on in full swing. Also part of the programme is felicitation of veteran actors. This year, it will be actor Kumar Roy and actress Maya Ghosh, for their contribution to Bengali theatre.

Hosted by Outram Club and collaborated by Calcutta Club, International Club, Dalhousie Institute, Lake Club and Calcutta Rowing Club, the theatre fest, Sampreeti, will be held on June 3, 5 and 6, with two plays being staged every day at Gyan Manch. The plan is to make the festival an annual event, with the clubs taking turns in hosting it every year and the language of drama extending to Hindi and English.

“Activities like these are a platform for clubs in the city to come together. We need to establish close connections that will help us jointly tackle problems that affect all of us,” says Abhijit Roy, convenor of the event.

The presidents of the six clubs, at an interaction with members on Tuesday, explained that it also gives “budding talents the opportunity to hone their skills”, besides encouraging inter-club camaraderie. This was a festival and not a competition, they all stressed.

“Programmes like this are held in clubs throughout the year. But this time, we decided on a joint exercise. That was how the idea was born,” says Samir Banerjee, president of Outram Club.

Next in line is Dalhousie Institute, with an inter-club youth festival in July, for which invitations to clubs have already been “sent out”. If the festival feel is an indication, it’s revival and rejuvenation time for Calcutta’s clubs.

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