Make sure you catch some old-school drama when you plan your vacations around the country with our pick of off-beat theatre festivals. From something for the kids and writing showcases to global galas and beyond, we discover why 2014 is all about curtain calls. — Aakanksha Devi
1. Bharat Rang Mahotsav, New Delhi
Already underway in the capital, the annual festival of the National School of Drama, Bharat Rang Mahotsav, brings together national, international and student productions and is spread across various venues including the Sri Ram Centre, LTG Auditorium, Abhimanch and Bahumukh. This year, the festival will highlight various aspects of Indian theatre through 71 performances that will be put up by groups from 17 states of India as well as troupes from Sri Lanka, Japan, Israel, China, Poland and Germany in varying styles that range from classical and Western to modern and folk.
2.International Theatre Festival of Kerala, Thrissur
The International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK) is organised by Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi. Part of the Department of Culture in Kerala, this is an annual event for independent, experimental and contemporary troupes. Spanning eight days, beginning on January 27, Thrissur will play host to open air performances and shows that seek to redefine the states’ culture and local contemporary practices, with a focus on atrocities against women, children and transsexuals.
3. International TYA Festival, New Delhi
New Delhi will play host to the first theatre for young audiences festival. The ASSITEJ (Association Internationale du Théâtre de l’Enfance et la Jeunesse) will feature performances by Indian and international theatre companies with three shows a day. Some representative countries are Afghanistan, Austria, Iran, Iceland, Serbia and India. In addition to performances, the festival will also have workshops, interactions with theatre veterans and art installations across the venue. February 17 to 23.
Since 1984, Kolkata comes alive between December 16 and 25 for the Nandikar National Theatre Festival. Hosted at the Academy of Fine Arts campus, this one is about bringing together actors, directors, stage production and enthusiasts under one colourful roof. It gives theatre lovers 10 days of intelligent, entertaining and intriguing performances in Indian and foreign languages. Being a multi-cultural platform, it sees the convergence of contemporary theatre and global tradition from Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and SAARC nations.
5. Jagriti Theatre, Bangalore
In a quest to encourage new creative work and give them a launch pad, Jagriti announces its New Writing Festival, a biennial, two-month long celebration of new writing for the stage. Not only will there be training, discussions and workshops by theatre personalities and writers, but also performances that will run for six shows each, starting this February. Some of the featured plays are Under the Chestnut Tree by Akash Mohimen, HeLa by Adura Onashile and Nobody Sleeps Alone by Deepika Arwind. Their theatre festival is still to be confirmed.Details: jagrititheatre.com
6. Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai
Mumbai’s fabled Prithvi Theatre hosts their annual kiddy season from mid-April to June with plays for children, starring children, and put together by the city’s most noteworthy theatre groups. Their annual week-long Theatre Festivaltraditionally scheduled for the month of November.
7. Ranga Shankara, Bangalore
An iconic entity in the Bangalore theatre scene, this year too will see Ranga Shankara host three festivals. The much-awaited AHA! International Theatre Festival for Children begins on July 11 until 20, while Summer Express, a 15-day kids workshop is scheduled between April 6 and May 17. The Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival will wow audiences from October 27 to November 9, although the acts are still to be announced.