The Hindu Lokadharmi has helped generate interest in theatre.
ORIGIN: Lokadharmi, said to be one of the oldest collective of theatre enthusiasts in Kochi, was formed in 1991. During its formative days it was known as Bhasabheri Nataka Sala. It was renamed as Lokadharmi in 1997. It is governed by a 9-member committee and is currently chaired by academician Dr. K.G. Paulose. The Lokadharmi Centre for Theatre which took off with a meagre membership of 25 has, of late, swelled to a strong team of 300 members.
ACTIVITIES: Beginning with Karnabharam(1991), its maiden play, Lokadharmi has always remained in the cultural spotlight of Kochi with successive programmes such as plays, theatre workshops and seminars. Over the years, Lokadharmi has brought alive on stage as much as 40 theatre productions. ‘Draupadi’, ‘Medea’, ‘Charandas Chor’, ‘Poranadi’ are just some of the well-known productions from the Lokadharmi repertory.
The Lokadharmi group has extensively toured India with several of its productions. It has about 500 performances to its credit. In the year 2000, Lokadharmi was invited to present its production, ‘Medea’ at a theatre festival in Greece. It has also performed at the NSD Festival in New Delhi on four different occasions. Lokadharmi is also an empanelled destination for Fulbright scholars pursuing theatre studies.
Through ‘Karnabharam’, the coveted Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) came its way in 2008 for Best Play, Best Costume Design and Best Stage Design. With it, Lokadharmi became the first regional language group to bag META accolades. “We were competing with the best talents from India and that the jury included legends like Habib Tanvir rendered a special charm to these awards,” says Prof. Chandradasan, Artistic Director of Lokadharmi.
Time and again Lokadharmi has reached out to educational institutions with a special stress on rural Kerala. It has also been conducting a weekly session on Sundays to impart theatre training to both students and adults. Lokadharmi’s regular theatre workshop for children is known as Mazhavillu. Currently, Mazhavillu is rehearsing ‘Thathamaram’ written by Chandradasan, which will be staged next month. Two more Lokadharmi productions will come alive on stage this year, one an adaption of German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’, and Draupadi at a festival in Kolkata. Also ‘Visvavikyathamaya Mookku, will be performed shortly.
IMPACT: An institution focusing on theatre, through its plays and related activities, could bring about a dramatic change in Kochi’s perception of theatre. “Lokadharmi could perhaps be credited for creating an atmosphere for theatre activities. This has inspired many individuals to look at theatre seriously. Many have chosen Lokadharmi to be their creative launch pad,” adds Prof. Chandradasan.
GETTING IN TOUCH: To learn more about Lokadharmi performances and its related activities, call 94474 14200 (Artistic Director) or for more information, log on to www.lokadharmi.com
Courtesy .The Hindu 09 august 2013