Theatre art form occupies a prominent role in Indian culture and is deeply rooted in the ancient heritage of this folk land. The long, rich, and illustrious history of folk theatre mirrors the contemporary art form in India. To bring to the stage the affluence of Indian theatre right from the earliest to the most contemporary with a special focus on the next generation of theatre artists and directors, the 17th edition of Old World Theatre festival will mirror the continuities of it.
The annual theatre festival is being organised by India Habitat Centre and the audiences will be able to experience 15 plays starting from October 20 in New Delhi.
The Old World Theatre is flagged as one of the “oldest and most prestigious theatre festivals”, and the nine-day event will create theatrical experiences through a pan-Indian constellation of original scripts from Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, and Kerala.
Vidyun Singh, while announcing the festival, described the line up as a “watershed in the history of the festival”. Vidyun is the Director Programmes of Habitat World, India Habitat Centre.
Vidyun expressed his delight of announcing the theatre festival and said, “I am so excited to bring the Gen Next of Indian theatre to the heart of India. The number of original scripts marked by unexpected take offs and performance styles does clearly point to a wave of theatre groups passionate to push the boundaries to tell the stories of today.”
"And it is to their passion and talent, despite all the limitations of funding and performance infrastructure in the country, that we owe this refreshing edition that will move you out of your comfort zones," he further added.
Kutiyattam will mark the opening of the theatre festival. This art is one of the most stylised and earliest forms of Sanskrit theatre and has been recognised by UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity".
The line-up will see, for the first time, a National Theatre Live Broadcast of "Julie" by British theatre director Carrie Cracknell.
Two scintillating all-women productions -- Beyond Borders, which explores boundaries of nationality, caste, colour, ethnicity, gender, body and mind; and DekhBehen, which is a bittersweet comedy about daughters, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, wives getting through one big fat Indian wedding -- will also be a part of the theatre festival.
"The Legend of Ila - A story in song" by Anant Dayal, "Pascualnama" and "Bhagi Hui Ladkiyan" by Dhwani Vij, and "Say What" by Avantika Bahl are some of the productions in the line-up.
"The productions scheduled to visit are representative of the multidimensional character of theatre today with the dynamic interplay of text with sound, choreography, physical theatre, local and people's histories to fluid genders, food, sign language and gestures to deconstruct a theatre goer's usual expectations," the organisers said.
Apart from the plays, a workshop by leading light designer, Yael Crishna, will also be organised for upcoming theatre light designers.
The festival will come to a close on October 28.