In the last two decades, Nagpur hasn’t really been a city bustling with creativity. Not that art is not appreciated here, but the city lacks a culture that encourages budding talent. There aren’t enough spaces or organisations that promote local artists or give them a platform.
But this scenario is soon going to change and city’s amateur artists will soon be getting a platform to showcase their talent. The Rajaram Sitaram library is constructing a small auditorium in its Gokulpeth premises to support the interests of the budding local artist and its construction is almost over. It will most likely be inaugurated by the end of this month.
In order to encourage local talent, the library is ready to give out the auditorium free of cost for activities related to theatre, music, artist interactions, book launches etc. Measuring about 4000 sq ft, this auditorium will be able to accommodate up to 150 people. The stage here is 25*20 feet and the auditorium will provide sound and light facilities.
According to librarian Anil Chanakhekar, this venture will not only showcase senior artists but will also provide a platform to aspiring artists. Amateur theatre artists or musicians can also organise their shows at this auditorium.
With big auditoriums being built across the city, there is hardly any space that promotes amateur theatre. Another problem with the bigger auditoriums is the rent they charge. The average rent charged is Rs 15,000, which is a huge sum for artists who are just starting out.
"Even if the newly built Suresh Bhat Auditorium is given to artists for only Rs 5000, the cost of production reaches anywhere near Rs 15000. Artistes can hire Suresh Bhat Auditorium for Rs 5000 only on the condition that there will be no tickets. An artist will have to sell his house if we were to continue without charging for tickets," says the librarian.
For the dying art of theatre to flourish, it is important to have spaces that allow artists to practice their art and also give them a platform to showcase it, free of cost.
"Nagpur needs several small theatres, those which can accommodate about 150 people. There is no need to build huge theatres such as Suresh Bhat Auditorium, as it is of no use to amateurs," says Chanakhekar, who used to work with the Reserve Bank.
Information and cover image sourced from timesofindia