Millennium Post

‘Want to bring Ibsen to mainstream’

‘Want to bring Ibsen to mainstream’
After a year’s break, the Ibsen Festival is back in the city. Known for some high-quality theatre, the festival this year will involve students from colleges across the Capital. Millennium Post caught up with Dr Nissar Allana, director of Dramatic Arts and Design Academy [DADA] and Delhi Ibsen festival ahead of the festival. Here are excerpts:  

What is Ibsen festival all about?

The idea of the festival is to promote college theatre, giving them the required exposure to grow and prepare for mainstream theatre. The main festival will be preceded by the University festival. The idea is to gradually convert this theatre festival into a national event, involving colleges across the country.

Not many know that Ibsen was a great playwright on the lines of Shakespeare. The festival aims to to bring him into the mainstream, to improvise by appropriating the current scenario and adapt his plays to the Indian setting.

The festival is conducted under the auspices of the Royal Norwegian Embassy. The University theatre festival is expected to bring together Ibsen’s dramatic literature with actual productions to give greater vitality to the study of Ibsen in India. All the college productions will be assisted by professionals.

What is Dramatic Arts and Design Academy [DADA] all about?

The institute was founded in 2000 as a training academy for theatre. The curriculum mainly includes set designing, public speaking [anchoring], costume designing and acting. The whole idea is to do things related to training and education in theatre and its development.

Has the dynamics of theatre changed over the years?

It has certainly changed for the good in the last 10 years. Earlier, there were only  four or five theatre festivals but now they have increased to 15 or 20. There is a influx of theatre artistes across the world now since it has croosed over to the realms of art. More so because there are sponsorships readily available from government and private ventures.

But within this positive change, theatre is still grossly inadequate in terms of infrastructure. It lacks basic amenities for its development and production. There are no decent rehearsal places with performance spaces. The problem can be attributed to the high level of commercialisation taking place.

Theatre is not as popular as films. Why?

Films are made on a mass scale production. It can be easily reproduced into a number of copies later. But theatre is put up live everytime. There are varied aspects involved in the performance in terms of lighting, costumes and others. Hence both are way different and cannot be compared to each other.

What are the activities of DADA?

DADA is mainly involved in training, providing research facilities and collecting archives to understand, learn and educate about theatre. Our major activity is the Ibsen festival. This year many renowned colleges of Delhi University like Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Maitreyi College, Ramjas College, St Stephen’s College and  Jawaharlal Nehru University will be participating.

What is your vision for DADA?

My main vision is to consolidate work in theatre and provide facilities to the art and people involved. I aspire to generate employement opportunities and enthusiastic about theatre. I am also in talks with the government to widen the base of theatre by rebuilding performance spaces and create more art institutes.

What is theatre for you?

It’s a unique meduim of introspection. To summarise, it’s the ability to communicate to the public to make them see beyond life and understand  its relativity at a higher level.


At:  LTG auditorium, Mandi House
When: 19- 23 September
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