A theatre World, a Magazine, and a Company
World of Theatrewala :
In 1998, what started as a theatre related magazine, gradually evolved into a theatre workshop, a theatre company, and finally a world in itself. The primary goal of Theatrewala magazine was to publish all sorts of articles, reviews, discussions, interviews, scripts, reprints of classics, interpretations of plays, arranging festivals – through which the theatre workers should be able to enrich themselves and our country’s theatre scenario. Theatrewala also wanted to bring in all the great names of contemporary theatre and a spirited young generation of theatre workers under one umbrella, and thus act as a catalyst for a new theatre movement.
A Theatre MAGAZINE:
Since its first publication in 1998, Theatrewala has brought out 27 issues in the last 12 years. Theatrewala contents are as diverse as the world of theatre itself. Apart from scholarly articles, reviews of recent productions, discussions, translation of theoretical works and play scripts of acclaimed productions. Theatrewala has been publishing interviews of 10 legendary theatre personalities of Bangladesh, who shaped the face of modern Bengali theatre – Sayeed Ahmed, Syad Samsul Haq, Abdullah Al Mamun, Ramendu Mazumder, Aly Zaker, Ataur Rahman, Ferdausi Mazumder, Mamunur Rashid, Selim Al Deen and Nasir Uddin Yusuf. It also published another interview of Utpal Datta, the great artist of Bangla Theatre. Theatrewala always take initiatives, which enrich the thoughts of theatre activists. Some of these are as follows:
- In 2001, in joint collaboration with Bishwa Shahitya Kendra, Theatrewala arranged a study circle where 26 world classics in theatre and literature including Mahabharata read. As many as 35 readers from different theatre groups participated in that study circle. In a separate study circle Ramayana read.
- In March 2005 Theatrewala took a historical assignment. 8 legendary playwrights and directors of Bengali theatre – Syed Samsul Haq, Abdullah Al Mamun, Aly Zaker, Ataur Rahman, Mamunur Rashid, Selim Al Deen, Nasir Uddin Yusuf and Syed Jamil Ahmed set on a dialogue with audience at the National Theatre. In that discussion, they shared their experiences with more than 300 young theatre activists.
- In 2005-2006 Theatrewala arranged two other dialogue sessions between paywrights-designers of then current productions and audience at National Theatre and at Mohila Shamity. The playwrights and designers of Che’r Cycle, Metamorphosis, Mangula, Binodini, Shymaprem, Aharkondal, Shwadeshi, Kotha’71, and Samayer Proyojane met their audiences.
- In April, 2007 Theatrewala arranged still another dialogue session between playwrights-designers of 4 Ethnic plays and their audience at the National Theatre. The playwrights and designers of Kania (from Dinajpur), Tun (from Joypurhat), Shreekrishna Keertan (from Monipur) and Hakkani Dhanpana (from Rangamati) met their audiences.
- In 2007 Theatrewala arranged another study circle. Only Mohabharata read in 13 sessions. Besides this, Peter Brook’s Mohabharata was shown on a big screen. This program was hugely successful with the theatre practitioners and participants alike.
- In September 2007 Theatrewala brought in yet another new idea. On that year, Theatrewala arranged a fair Rangamatan Soliman Mela 2007 in memory of S. M. Solaiman (1953-2001), one of the leading personalities of the new theatre movement in Bangladesh. Immensely popular with the young generation of theatre workers, Solaiman’s productions often incorporated strong political convictions, which made him an influential figure in Bangladeshi theatre. His passion for theatre and clarity of vision on different social issues earned popular acclaim for theatre in general. Eight groups and hundreds of audiences thronged at the daylong Rangamatan Soliman Mela 2007. An open discussion titled by Which Theatre for the Market, Why and How was held between more than 500 theatre activists.
- September 2008, Theatrewala arranged Rangamatan Soliman Mela for the second time. 15 groups with their 500 activists participated in that mela. Two open discussions arranged on Colonial mind and its impact on theatre and another was Source of the songs in Rabindranath’s playes. So many people enjoyed the discussions.
- May 2011, Theatrewala organized a festival titled Faiz Zahir–Azad Abul Kalam–Shuvashish Sinha Natya Yagna 2011 at National Theatre, Bangladesh Shilpokola Academy. In this festival 8 popular groups staged their dramas directed by above mentioned most creative young directors of Bangladesh. It was simply the recognition of their great works.
A Repertory Company:
In 2009 Theatrewala formed a professional theatre troop named Theatrewala Repertory. Hasan Shahriar, Sumon Nikli and Saif Suman are only responsible of this troop. They are the editor and associate editor of Theatrewala respectively. In 19 March 2010, Theatrewala Repertory staged its first production Shylock and Sycophants at National Theatre. The play is based on a novel of Shahzad Firdous written by Hasan Shahriar and Directed by Azad Abul Kalam. More than 50 shows have already been staged.
After few years postponment of its activities Theatrewala is available online (theatrewala.net) from April, 2015. Besides the current issue the formarly published 27 issues and other online isses are also available on the net.