KARACHI: The Karachi Theatre Festival 2020 that was scheduled to open on Oct. 1 kicked off last evening. Cultural Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah inaugurated the festival at Arts Council Karachi. This was followed by two performances for the night. “In this age where people are confined to TV, mobile and their homes, the efforts of the President Arts Council Muhammad Ahmad Shah to bring everyone together under one roof is commendable,” the minister noted. “Art is the greatest weapon in the world and for its promotion, Arts Council’s services are commendable.”
Syed Sardar Ali Shah further observed that citizens are tired of watching the same news every day. “By normalizing street theatre, we can bring a new change,” he added. “The students of the first semester of Arts Council’s Theatre Academy have given an outstanding performance in street theatre. In view of their hard work and dedication, I would like to announce a prize of Rs. 200,000 as an incentive.”
On the opening night, attendees watched Zain Ahmed’s Heer. Prior to that, they were introduced to a street play, Safar, directed by Afreen Sahar. President Arts Council, Ahmed Shah informed that artists trained at the Theater Academy of the Arts Council will perform a street theatre play every day. “People have been confined to their homes for six months, we cannot deprive them of happiness,” he asserted. “Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be followed strictly throughout the festival. One show will be staged twice each day. Viewers will be allowed to sit in the hall with the gap of one seat.”
TV and film actor Hajra Yamin played a key role in Zain Ahmed’s Heer. She is presently starring in drama serials Jalan and Tera Gham Aur Hum. She had been rehearsing for her performance for the last few days. Not to forget, this wasn’t the first time Heer staged. It was performed earlier at NAPA, with Hajra featuring in it.
The Karachi Theatre Festival 2020 was initially scheduled to run till October 18th. However, the organizers told us that it has extended and will continue till October 23rd. In addition to 24 new theatre plays, the festival will also feature performances, interesting discussions, debates and 3 interactive workshops. Watch this space to know more about the ongoing festival.