INTRODUCTION : Theatre Festivals can be defined as a prog of special theatrical events. Theatre festivals are amongst the earliest types of festival. Theatre involves a lot of human interaction between the actors and audience . Multiplies that raw creative energy with different costumes, directors and visitors exchanging ideas, learning from each other and trading inspiration.
HISTORY OF THEATRE FESTIVALS :
As the history goes, one of the earliest types of festivals. The prototypes of theatre festivals were the theatre competitions of the Olympic Games . Were held in ancient Greece and the contests organised between Troubadours and Minnesingers. The concept of festivals started gaining popularity in the 18th century, specifically in Switzerland.
Initially they were ceremonial processions, which later took the form of large scale presentations held in connection with special events. Since 1882, the Bayreuth Festival has been held every year in Bayreuth, Bavaria, which is devoted to the operas of R.Wagner. Another well-known festival, the Shakespeare Festival has also been held regularly since the year 1886, in the Bard’s birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon.
Festivals devoted solely to the thratrical arts have been organised sice mid 1930’s. Some of the most prominent ones include The International Theatre Festival in Moscow . The Festival of Children’s Theatres and Puppet Theaters, The All-Russian Festivals of Sovkhoz and Kolkhoz Theatres and others.
THEATRE FESTIVALS IN INDIA :
India is a land of rich cultural diversity. The Film and Theatre Industries in India have always remained a major part of India’s popular culture, constantly evolving thematically, technically and aesthetically. Theatre Festivals celebrate this art magnificently, introducing thousands to the many facets of Indian drama. The Indian Theatre encompasses all the different forms of fine arts and literature like dance, music, mime, movement, sculpting, painting and architecture. Some of the well-known theatre festivals in India are –
• Prithvi Festival – The first Prithvi Festival wad held in 1983 to celebrate successful growth in theatre groups as well as the development of an audience who appreciates theatre. Since then, the Prithvi Festivals have been conducted anually and it includes local theatre groups from Mumbai as well as national and international ones, with various themes.
Nandikar’s National Theatre Festival – Nandikar’s National Theatre Festival was started in 1984, by the Theatre group called Nandikar and is held at Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata. The festival displays production by leading and Avant-garde theatre troups from all over India and occasionally from countries like USA, Sweden, Switzerland, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK) – ITFoK is an international theatre festival held every year in December, in Thrissur city of Kerala. It started in the year 2008.
Some other noteworthy theatre festivals of India are Bharat Rang Mahotsav, Guwahati Theatre Festival, Pataliputra Natya Mahotsav, Serendipity Arts Festival and others.
CONCLUSION : Theatre Festivals give the performers the opportunity to perform in front of a wider audience . Thus act as s stepping stone for the artists’ further development. The festivals give the artists and artworks of different genres an opportunity, to be viewed in a new perspective.