Staging a play is serious business. Ask any theatre group out there and they will tell you that the toughest part is finding the perfect space to rehearse until it’s time to hit the stage running. With most semi-professional groups setting up their own spaces and offering it up for rent, these are our picks, for the next time you need a fully loaded option to sit back and ‘play’.
Built with a lot of thought, this rehearsal space from one of the city’s youngest theatre groups is conceptually one of the best — with great acoustics and the right amount of space, with changing rooms. Crea Shakti built the space as they needed it to train students from 15 schools and 23 colleges in the city, for workshops et al. An advantage for groups using their space is the ample parking on offer and the fact that every inch of the 750 sq ft studio in R A Puram is optimally air-conditioned — a blessing during summer. “We are looking forward to expand our activities in other parts of the country as well,” says Nivash Gopalaswamy, Resource Trainer at Crea Shakthi.
Price Tag: Rs 1,500 rent for three hours Car parking available
Established in 2010, this rehearsal space in Saligramam has grown from a practice pad for budding musicians to a multi-utility rehearsal space for theatre professionals and celebrities. With a built-in area of over 850 square feet, it can accommodate about 60 people. “A plug and play system, spacious parking and a separate dining space, and a hall strategically situated on the ground floor makes Antara just about perfect. It also doubles up as an ideal venue for corporate meetings and trainings,” says founder, J S Shekar. “At Antara, users know what to expect. With a huge spread of food items to choose from, soft lighting and comfortable seating, it’s convenience at value for money at Antara,” adds the founder.
Price Tag: Rs 400-600 depending on the usage Space File: 850 sq ft Car parking available
The Alliance Francaise has been around for over 60 years and is among the older rehearsal spaces in the city. Rehearsals can be done in the auditorium itself, or if you’re game enough, down at the amphitheatre. Only downside is that groups like Evam and Theatre Nisha who often use the space don’t like having an audience catch their performances before hand! Booking for the space is usually done a month in advance, and charges are set by the director for every request. The centre has adequate parking facilities, a library that has books in French, and a cafeteria.
Price Tag: Rs 7,000 for four hours, Rs 14,000 for a full day.
Space File: 1813 sqft Theatre groups which have a partnership with the centre don’t have to pay the rent for their shows
When Freddy Koikaran’s Stage Fright Productions decided to stage an ambitious version of Chicago, the only place that suited their space requirements was Vidya Sagar. Housed within the school for children with special needs in Kotturpuram, the auditorium is spacious, on a private road and offers complete privacy for rehearsing groups, “We rent out the auditorium and quadrangle for young theatre groups who cannot afford to pay huge sums so that the art of theatre never dies out,” says Anuradha Sankaran, the youth co-ordinator. In the last decade, the space has been used by prominent groups like Evam, Crea Shakti and Stage Fright. The spaces are rented out only after school hours, from 5-9 pm. “What probably attracts groups to Vidya Sagar is the quiet ambience,” says Anuradha.
Space File: The money generated is for maintenance
Price Tag: Auditorium: Rs 500 for four hours; Quadrangle: Rs 350 for four hours
Wondering what to do with your old garage? Well, if you ask Mathivanan Rajendran of Stray Factory, he’ll probably
tell you to transform it into a rehearsal space for theatre artistes. This cozy 270 sq ft space welcomes anyone who needs a space to practice for an upcoming show, with no bar on scale or experience. Decorated by props used in their old plays, Stray Factory does not hesitate to waive the rent if they think the cause is worth it.
Price Tag: Rs 600 for two hours Space File: 270 sq ft