Return of arclight on new-look rangshala

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  • Published 13.01.12

Patna, Jan. 12: A revamped Premchand Rangshala would be thrown open to the public on Saturday, nearly four decades after the last play was staged at the premier auditorium at Rajendra Nagar in the state capital.

Art, culture and youth affairs minister Sukhda Pandey today said: “Once the auditorium is opened, theatre activities in the city will gain pace as artistes will get a platform to perform.”

Renovated at Rs 5.91 crore, the 500-seat auditorium will be centrally air-conditioned and equipped with modern lighting, motorised curtains, false ceiling and new wall panels among other facilities.

On Makar Sankranti (January 14), chief minister Nitish Kumar will inaugurate the renovated auditorium in the presence of his deputy, Sushil Kumar Modi. A play scripted by eminent poet Vidhyapati and directed by Sanjay Upadhaya would be staged on the opening day.

Light arrangements at the auditorium have been done under the supervision of experts from National School of Drama, New Delhi.

Pandey said: “At the entrance of the auditorium, a statue of Prem Chand would be installed. The auditorium will be rented out at nominal rates to culture enthusiasts.”

Department principal secretary C. Lalsota said: “Fire-fighting equipment have been installed to deal with any kind of exigency.”

Last month, the chief minister had visited the under-construction auditorium and expressed satisfaction with the work.

Nitish had then directed the ministers and officials concerned that the auditorium should not be used for other activities, but only for the purpose for which it was being constructed.

Premchand Rangshala was built in 1971 and was one of the biggest theatres in the eastern region of the country. After 1972, no play was staged at the auditorium. It was handed over to CRPF two years later. Aggrieved at this, artistes from across the state staged demonstrations to get the auditorium freed.

In 1987, the auditorium was finally freed from CRPF. Thereafter, plays were staged at regular interval but lack of government interest in its upkeep worried art and culture connoisseurs.

In 2008, the chief minister took up the cudgels to give a facelift to Premchand Rangshala. Renovation of the auditorium began in February 2008.