For 13 years, Thespo, the youth theatre festival, has given youngsters an opportunity to take their first step into the world of professional theatre. Don't miss four new plays at the festival that begins today
Over 13 years, Thespo has given theatre virgins their first kiss of fame. Theatrewallas do not often find, or even aspire for, the glamour quotient.
But back in 1999 when Theatre Group and Q Theatre Productions (QTP) started a new youth theatre festival called Thespo, they gave Indian theatre an Academy Award-like experience.
Virtually all of the Gen Next of Indian theatre has stood up on the Thespo stage, holding the 'gold man' in their hand and gasping for breath as they delivered an impromptu acceptance speech.
The Thespo Awards Nite is marked by fist-pumping, gloating, hooting and a sober pause, as a mark of honour, for the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
A still from Janhit Mein Jaari, which will be performed at Prithvi Theatre as well as NCPA
And even though Quasar Padamsee, Toral Shah, Varrun Bangera and the rest of the organising team insist that the festival is not really about the competition, the thrill of taking home an award cannot be denied.
This year, four plays will be vying for the top honours. The line up includes three Marathi plays Ek Don Adhich from Mumbai, Patient and Janhit Mein Jaari from Pune and one English production Cock from Mumbai.
The plays were chosen from 95 entries that emerged from seven cities. Kashin Shetty, a member of the screening panel this year (and participant and winner at Thespo since 2003), says, "The festival line-up is very exciting.
It made me see youth theatre in a new light. Interestingly, all the plays deal with difficult questions that we are faced with day in and day out. All the plays are about making choices."
The theme for the festival is 'Theatre tera mera', punning on the number of years the festival has been around. Thespo 13 will include workshops (by local and international resource persons), platform performances and live band performances apart from the plays.
The Lifetime Achievement Award for 2011 will be presented to Arundhati and Jagdish Raja, who have worn many caps over the years producers, directors, actors and mentors to generations of theatrewallas.