Cultural Connecthttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/cultural-connect-5/

Cultural Connect

Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi’s sphere of creativity is witnessing an artistic expansion

As the index of growth rises,so does the need to retain cultural roots so as to provide a balancing act to life. Chandigarh is projected as the future cultural capital of north India,and viewed from this perspective,and in spite of several financial and infrastructural constraints we have raised the bar and expanded our repertoire of activities,initiatives and interactions in the region,” says Kamal Tewari,the outgoing Chairperson of Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi (CSNA),as he looks back at a fulfilling journey of eight years,and unveils a new brochure that brings to fore the team’s efforts.

Apart from annual dance,music and theatre festivals by both professional and amateur artistes,the focus has been to reach out to new audiences outside the stage,with workshops,seminars,appreciation courses and street theatre festivals. “We have brought corporate culture of killing spirit in our cultural sphere of creativity,which we are consistently dealing with by innovating,improvising and creating,” says Tewari.    

Two unique efforts of  CSNA have been a bank of theatre scripts and preservation of old musical instruments from remote areas. As many as 600 scripts of Punjabi,Hindi and English plays have been collected from various sources,enriching the pool of ideas for young theatre directors. The Akademi is also locating and collecting instruments such as dilruba,saranda and tumbi from remote areas of Punjab and Haryana.

All set for a new phase of cultural activism is GS Chani,CSNA’s new Chairperson. A theatre and film director,known for his theatre activism,Chani says he wants CSNA to go beyond the routine to explore new areas in performance culture.

“You cannot view culture in isolation from life,the idea here is to involve local artistes,groups,communities and drama clubs to be part of the cultural exchange,” says Chani. “Working as facilitators,we will initiate a dialogue with local practitioners,encouraging them to explore new territories,” he says,adding that the emphasis of CSNA will be more on workshops,sharing of ideas,artiste residencies,contemporary dance,puppetry,scenography and and video installations.

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Reclaiming performance spaces and facilitating the use of appropriate alternative spaces such as community centres,sector mohallas and parks,and mobilising community participation in CSNA programmes is high on the agenda. “We have to build audiences,and get children involved in cultural activities,’’ says Chani.