Theatre has always been an integral part of the cultural heritage of Presidency University. From the Hindoo Theatre (the first modern theatre endeavour in Kolkata in the 1820s) driven by individuals like Prasanna Kumar Tagore to the Autumn Social of the 1940s, Presidency/Hindoo College has historically led the theatre scene in Calcutta. Natyotsab (‘The Theatrical Festival’) bears this very spirit and carries forward this historical legacy of theatre in Bengal.
Till 2017, Natyotsab used to be a staple event for the students of Presidency University to turn the art of theatre into a grand celebration of fun, frolic and togetherness.
Tearing away from the lockdown lethargy, ICON, a cultural platform of Presidency University, is reviving the Natyotsab tradition with a view of taking theatre to every corner of Presidency, especially to the freshers, and having them engage with the vibrant spirit of college life.
The students will conduct every aspect of the festival, including the direction, acting, choreography, music, stage design, prop-making, and so on.
On the first day of the ‘audition’ that took place on 8 September in the Union Room, the organisers took ample liberties with the traditional sense of the term, turning the event into an introductory session where conventional theatrical activities like story enactment and rhythm training were spiced up with banters and group bonding.
The university campus will be gearing up for Natyotsab for the month ahead, before the preparations climax into a theatrical extravaganza for everyone to experience.
The organisers intend to make room for full-length stage plays as well as street plays with relevant socio-cultural and political undertones, and also involve theatre groups and entertainers from outside the walls of Presidency.
As the university buckles up for Natyotsab, the students have already entered a festival season of their own much before the puja reveries hit the state.