Theatre of the Young

Thespo returns for its 14th edition this week

Started in 1999 by a handful of students from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, the annual theatre festival Thespo is now in its 14th year and will be held at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, between December 11 and 15. Like its predecessors, Thespo 14 will conclude with an awards ceremony at the Little Theatre, National Centre for Performing Arts, Nariman Point, on December 16, the highlight of which will be the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Ruby and Burjor Patel.

Since 2000, one of the most important rules associated with Thespo has been the "25 years or younger" rule, with reference to participants. This year, too, the primary focus has been to involve as many young theatre people from across the country as possible. In the last six months, therefore, workshops, outreach programmes and other activities have been held in various parts of the country, resulting in 97 entries from 10 cities, the most a festival has ever seen. "This year, we tried to reach out to cities and people that we haven't been able to access in the previous years, and the responses have been phenomenal. We even have people signing up from Canada to work on the festival," says Quasar Thakore Padamsee, a theatre personality and member of Team Thespo.

The line-up includes 15 performances in three languages from seven cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore, Kolkata, Nagpur and Ahmedabad. Full-length plays that will compete for the Thespos are God=Father, a Marathi play from Mumbai; Line, a Hindi/English play from Delhi; Being Sartak Majumdar, an English play from Mumbai; Apradhi Sugandh, a Marathi play from Pune; and Naav, another Marathi play from Pune. Other performances include short plays, poetry recitals, dance performances and live bands.

In addition, a number of workshops will also be held during the course of the festival. Karl Alphonso, currently a stage manager with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the US, will conduct a workshop on stage management titled "Be Prepared". Actor/director Abhishek Saha will conduct a session on Brazilian martial art Capoeira and Danish Irani will talk about the Urdu story telling tradition of Dastangoi.

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