Theater has been a creative part of the rich culture and tradition of Pakistan, which is based on the region’s folk tradition characterized by music, dance, and drama. While cinema is a popular mode of entertainment in Pakistan, live theatre always constantly increases its viewership as an amazing art of entertainment.
Generally, theater considers as only acting but that’s not true at all. Theater covers a vast range like Writing, Scripting, Editing, Translating, Adapting, Set-Designing, Lighting, Sound-Recording, Sound-Playing, Dancing, Singing, Instruments-Playing, Costume Designing, Make-up, Producing, Directing, Marketing, Coordinating, Educating, Entertaining and, obviously, Acting. Interesting thing is that there is a scope for each art form and creativity in theatre. Theatre itself is a complete life.
Here let us talk about some of the most entertaining theaters in Pakistan that have been pleasing audience along with creating social awareness.
In Lahore, AJOKA Theater was setup in 1984 by a group of young people in the lead of Madeeha Gauhar, who was a TV actress and theater director.
Ajoka Theatre is a non-profitnon-commercial organization where members come from varied class and social backgrounds. Ajoka is financially independent. It has also worked on theatre projects with like-minded national and international NGOs, for which expenses are shared. Ajoka is not just about entertainment. It much more than that, as it touched topics that have never been portrayed in entertainment world.
Ajoka has organized Panjpaani Indo-Pak theatre festivals to promote peace. These festivals were held in 2004-2009. Soon Ajoka plans to launch a Theatre for Peace program in collaboration with various Pakistani and Indian theatre groups. Ajoka is the only Pakistani group that has performed in India from Srinagar to Kerala and from Amritsar to Kolkata. Charing cross, Intezar, Talismati tota, Dream which refuses to die are some most popular plays.
2. NAPA (Napa Repertory Theater):
NAPA is a theater and also an art school Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. NAPA was founded in 2005 as an institution to teach performing arts and music. Napa is aware that in every society there is only a small creative minority that keeps the flame of it’s country’s culture alive. This creative minority is the most valuable treasure of a society. Napa is performing under the leadership of Zia Moheyuddin.
NAPA offers academic courses that are not available in other schools or universities in our country. Their curriculum is designed to provide every student with a strong and broad foundation in the Performing Arts. Theatre Departments of NAPA consist of teacher, performers as well as academic instructors. The institute believes that its object is to enrich permanently the lives of its students by helping to cultivate in them the love for the beautiful arts of music, dance, and drama.
3. LAHORE ART COUNCIL (ALHAMRAH):
Alhamra is an Arabic origin, which means a woman is“Red Clothes”. During the last 20 years, Alhamra has risen as the thriving hub of all traditional as well as cultural activities in Lahore. It is situated right beside the river Ravi. Punjab has a very rich cultural heritage. Its five arteries have nourished vast land legends and love tales like that of heer-ranjha, mirza-sahiban, sehti-murad, sohni-mahiwal and many more.
4. ARTS COUNCIL KARACHI:
However, recently cinema took the place of theater in Karachi but still, some artist who revived the entertainment of theater at art council Karachi, like Omer Shareef. Karachi has immense talent and specially theatre as the potential to grow alongside cinema. Hence we must not focus on cinema all the time and show support for theatre as well.
5. AZAD THEATER:
Azad Theater was established recently in 2011, but don not let its young nature make you think any less of it. It consists of a very experienced team with 22 years of experience who are working day and night to revive the industry. Azad Theater is known for its peace and cultured society.
They entertain people of 21st century in their own special way, their performances are filled with energy and always convey a deeper message.
The Theater which was becoming rusty is now beginning to develop in Pakistan with continuous efforts of groups like these. The recent past years, 2018 or 2019, may not be remembered for many theatrical productions but it was part of a growing trend of theatre productions in Pakistan that we can hope will continue for long.