Silly Troupers Theatre Festival attempts to revive the once-vibrant theatre scene in Delhi
The three-day event, which ends today brought together an interesting amalgamation of a number of theatre genres, thereby extending a platform to artists from different backgrounds.
Situated in a discreet corner on Alipur Road, Civil Lines, the Silly Souls studio was abuzz with artists over the past two days. The space was adorned with lanterns, fairy lights, and streamers; a chai-tapri (tea stall) was positioned in a corner and a stall selling handmade clay products was seen at another. The team here organised the Silly Troupers Theatre Festival—a three-day event, which ends today—that brought together an interesting amalgamation of a number of theatre genres, thereby extending a platform to artists from
A joint effort
It was evident that the Silly Souls’ team had tried to recreate a high-spirited vibe of theatre fests, one which was easy to catch sight of prior to the pandemic. “The pandemic impacted the theatre fraternity adversely. With the theatre scene slowly reviving, we thought, as a theatre company, it was important [for us] to provide a space to artists and directors to showcase their work,” mentioned theatre artist Priyanka Sharma, who founded Silly Souls Foundation. Speaking to us about the festival, theatre practitioner Nikita Rawat (23), who is a core team member, said, “We [Silly Souls Foundation] organise Tafreeh, an art festival. The pandemic was a difficult time for artists. However, now, as the danger of the virus has relatively subsided, we decided to extend a platform to them [artists].”
This festival has carved a performance space for both student theatre groups and professionals, and attempts to provide theatricians the opportunity to get back on stage. The lineup for the last two days featured Premchand ki Kahaaniyan by Blue Feather Theatre Group, Rabindranath Tagore’s Dak Ghar by Pratham Path Theatre, Not Made for Each Other by Adakaar Theatre Society from Mandi House. The plays that will be staged today are Tax Free—The Blind Men’s Club and Park by Natshala Theatre Group as well as The Tragedy of Paul Gomra by Horizon Theatre Group.
“Getting back to the stage after a hiatus of two years was exciting. It was also great to perform in a space different from the usual spots such as Mandi House or Lodhi Road [both theatre hubs of Delhi]”, shared Prince Rajput, co-director of Not Made for Each Other. The process of making a comeback with equal vigour took substantial time and effort by the organisers. “We have been planning this event for the last three to four months. The last 15 days have been very hectic. We have invested a lot of effort in putting this event together,” Rawat added.
Owning the stage
Functional in the city for the last eight years, the Silly Souls Foundation has produced a number of plays including Sonam Gupta Bewafa Hai, The Advertisement, Khurdure Haath, and others. These productions have helped them garner recognition. They also organise Tafreeh, an annual festival that is focused majorly on dance, music, storytelling, and theatre.
“Our aim is to involve the locals in art and theatre. There are a lot of theatre spaces in South Delhi but not many cultural hubs in North Delhi. With the Silly Souls Foundation, we intended to create a hub for this zone, where people can openly express themselves,” concluded Sharma.