Comprising five performances of two plays in the intimate, private spaces of Goan homes, this is a unique project that pushes the theatre discipline beyond defined boundaries. Moving away from the proscenium (the frame or arch separating the stage from the auditorium, through which the action of a play is viewed) these performances are set to explore fresh avenues – utilising non-traditional performance spaces, creating public interventions and offering audiences alternative perspectives into the performance space.
Conceived by Atul Kumar who will curate the Festival’s Theatre programming along with Arundhati Nag at Serendipity Arts Festival 2018, this unique series of precursor performances are aimed at redefining theatre for Goa audiences, and further the Festival’s commitment to creating tangible change across the country’s cultural spectrum by engaging the public.
The Theatre discipline at this year’s Festival is curated by Arundhati Nag and Atul Kumar and explores diverse elements of the medium with performances designed to push traditional canons. The 2018 projects include a series of special plays for children and public interventions that question notions of ‘the stage’. Promoting new creative strategies to further contemporary theatre practice in India, the works also respond to and address pertinent social, cultural and environmental concerns such as homosexuality and gender bias, and collateral events highlighting the creative presence of marginalised communities.
Goa residents will have the opportunity to experience these unusual plays in unconventional public spaces such as The Museum of Goa, Gunpowder and The Village Studio in October and this will be followed by a series of additional iterations of Theatre at Home in November and December.
About the performances and his vision Curator Atul Kumar said: “If people do not come to the theatre, we will take theatre into their homes! Theatre at Home is about allowing theatre to be personal, and adapting it to different and unconventional performance spaces. We are providing a new platform for artists of repute, and furthering performance culture through these smaller and more intimate spaces which inspire dialogue between performer and audience. This project reflects the Festival’s programming this year and furthers Serendipity’s goal of being open, inclusive and instrumental in bringing the arts to the people.”
The two productions Criminal Tribes Act and Adrak both explore marginalised communities whilst challenging notions of theatre craft, the performative, the performance space and the audience’s perception of the stage.
Criminal Tribes Act is a play that examines the inherent conflicts between the speaker and the subject, the spoken and the unspoken, and India’s inherited modes of social exclusion. Alluding to the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, a legislation imposed during British rule, the play looks at the hierarchical classification of people based on caste and status within the Hindu Indian social structure which dictates that individuals belonging to certain castes are socially excluded, ostracised and alienated. The production is directed by Sankar Venkateswara and performed by Theatre Roots & Wings.
Adrak re-defines the idea of conversation and conversations and dwells on the immediacy of them. Through the story of three characters Nischay, Vikrant and Anokhi, the play examines the hopelessness of the characters’ present, and attempts to unravel the nostalgia of their shared past. The play is presented by Now Productions and written by Niketan Sharma.
This will be the first in a series of multidisciplinary arts activations that will energise Goa in the lead up to Serendipity Arts Festival 2018. Initiatives like these are an integral part of the Foundation’s mission of making the arts accessible and developing arts audiences both in numbers and in diversity.
In its previous two editions, the Serendipity Arts Festival attracted more than 400,000 visitors creating significant public impact and contributing to the cultural regeneration of Panaji. This year’s programming continues to honour the culture and the arts of the Festival’s host city, with special events to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Panaji, redefining heritage sites and architectural icons through creative and community-focused projects.
Highlights of this year’s event include theatre performances designed for children, large scale public installations in the visual arts and photography, a variety of outdoor and evening music performances, culinary workshops and tastings, as well as a range of specially commissioned projects across disciplines which will be exclusive to Serendipity Arts Festival 2018. Projects will unite artforms from different parts of the country, diluting regional divisions and encouraging cross-cultural exchange.
About Theatre At Home, Ms. Smriti Rajgarhia, Director, Serendipity Arts Festival said:
“We are really proud to present ‘Theatre at Home’ curated by Atul Kumar for Serendipity Arts Festival 2018. Serendipity Arts Festival this year is about experimentation and dialogue, we’re questioning the idea of the theatre, the public and the private, Theatre at home brings these points to a juncture of overlap, and also addresses the need to take the arts to the people from co-working spaces to a private residences, theatre at home offers a new experiences to our audiences.
About Serendipity Arts Foundation
Serendipity Arts Foundation, a Munjal initiative for creativity, is a not-for-profit arts and cultural development Foundation that fosters cultural development and supports emerging artists across South Asia. The Foundation aims to promote new creative strategies, artistic interventions, and cultural partnerships which are responsive, addressing the social, cultural and environmental milieu of South Asia. The Foundation’s programmes are designed and initiated through innovative collaborations with partners across a multitude of fields, impacting education, promoting social growth via community development programmes, and exploring interdisciplinarity across the arts.
About Serendipity Arts Festival
The Foundation’s primary initiative and largest project, Serendipity Arts Festival is a multi-disciplinary arts event held annually every December in Goa. Curated by a panel of eminent artists and institutional figures, the Festival is a long-term cultural project that hopes to instigate positive change across the arts in India on a large scale. Spanning the visual, performing and culinary arts, the Festival’s programming includes music, dance, visual arts, craft, photography, film and theatre. The Festival addresses pressing social issues such as arts education and pedagogy, cultural patronage, interdisciplinary discourse, and accessibility to the arts. Serendipity Arts Festival’s intensive programme of exhibitions and performances is energised by spaces for social and educational engagement. The third edition of the Serendipity Arts Festival will take place in Goa from 15-22 December 2018.