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JAMMU: Internationally renowned cultural critic Ravinder Kaul made a detailed presentation about theatre scenario in India in general and J&K State in particular during the 16th Europe Theatre Prize in Rome. In a meeting that was attended by eminent theatre directors, critics, actors and administrators and organised on the sidelines of the Europe Theatre Prize programmes, he delved in depth at the current situation of theatre in the strife ridden J&K State.

Speakers from several conflict zones in the world provided valuable insights into the manner in which culture can be preserved during the time of conflict. Kaul cited the example of 10 day Comedy Theatre Festival organised in the year 2011 and Kashmir World Film Festival organised in 2017 in Srinagar which were essentially non-governmental efforts aimed at restoring the rich cultural ethos of the region. The civil society in Kashmir is conscious of chances of losing its cultural moorings and has risen to the occasion to protect and preserve its cultural heritage, he said.

Ravinder Kaul also highlighted the vibrant theatre scene in Jammu region of the State and in order to support his contention, screened a video recording of Amateur Theatre Group’s much celebrated play ‘Ishq Malangi’, directed by Mushtaq Kak. The participants evinced keen interest in the play and opined that the play could play a significant role in conflict resolution between India and Pakistan as the story of the play was located in the partition of the country in 1947.

Speaking about the theatre scene in India, Kaul said that while there was vibrant and varied theatre activity in the metros and major cities, theatre was struggling to survive in small and big towns of the country. However, he expressed hope that the situation would change for the better with many corporate houses coming forward with financial and organisational support for promotion of theatre.

The meeting ended with Kaul thanking all participants for evincing keen interest in Indian theatre and the theatre of J&K State. He hoped that this interaction would result in staging of relevant plays from their respective countries in India and Indian plays being staged in their countries.