2016 an eventful year for Nautanki Theatre

The year didn’t start in January 2016 for Nautanki Theatre Company. I have to go back a few months back in 2015. In fact, for an Independent Theatre Company like Nautanki the calendar is from November to November, almost.

January in 2016 saw the entire production running around in a dying urge of creation. Actors busy doing their lines, creative team designing set, prop and lighting. Lenore Robertson calmly directing the entire ensemble which in later half of January presented 3 successful shows of The Last Dance at Dum Dum by Ayub Khan-Din at Lennox Theatre in Parramatta.

Nautanki company had two successful venture with School kids this year as well. A dance and mask making workshop in April and another workshop in June on Learning Theatre through Games was two great opportunities to work with children and young kids.

While company had a less successful year securing grants but our vision that was set a year ago, was firm. We worked with available resources, planned smartly and decided to concentrate more on our niche audience rather sucking up to the grant officers who are clueless about South Asian Diasporic Theatre. A grant officer while giving me feedback on company’s unsuccessful application suggested that our application could have been better with a community support letter from an Indian organisation. If I were 5-year younger I would call this grant officer a moron and tell him to bugger off but with age my tolerance has grown I suppose. I corrected him not to attached a tag ‘Indian’ with the company and asked whether he would look for a supporting letter from Greek community when some other company decides to present Antigone? I did cut short the conversation after that. I could tell you that grant officer was not embarrassed, he just didn’t understand what I was meaning or where did he stand!

Despite all hardships, we managed to get some support and carried on with 1st South Asian in language Theatre Festival. Two nights of successful presentation of 3 short plays was more than an experience. South Asian community backed the festival well and took the opportunity of seeing 3 plays in language free of charge. The audience failed to understand Pay-As-You-Think concept introduced by Nautanki company however we were able to create a theatre awareness within them. Our community connectors did a fantastic job directing audience to Rafferty’s Theatre for two consecutive shows.

Reema Gillani and Sunny Singh joined in Production and Marketing units of the company in 2016. Avijit Sarkar’s advices on organisation and projects from time to time is greatly appreciated. Manisha Jolie Amin as Executive Director of Nautanki Company still takes my phone calls and answers my questions, she promises to continue doing.

2017 is just around the corner. For Nautanki Theatre Company coming year will be even bigger. We are staring year 2017 by presenting a 10 minutes’ play in Short+Sweet Theatre Festival in 1st week of February followed by playwriting program. Company will have its annual production in August, South Asian Theatre Festival in November, workshops and discussion forums from time to time.

On behalf of Nautanki Theatre Company I wish everyone a happy and safe new year.

~ Neel Banerjee | Artistic Concept Designer, Nautanki Theatre
rehearsal From the rehearsal room of play Still Alive

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