KARACHI: The National Academy of Performing Arts’ (Napa) International Theatre Festival will be held from March 12 to March 31. This was announced by the artistic director of the Napa Repertory Theatre Zain Ahmed at a press conference on Thursday evening.
Mr Ahmed said the aim of the festival, whose first edition was organised in 2014, is to provide the Napa students, alumni and citizens of Karachi with an opportunity to see a variety of art forms. At the same time the graduates of the academy through the event get a chance to perform alongside international artists. It’s all done on a non-commercial, experimental basis.
Mr Ahmed said the countries that are participating are Italy, Sri Lanka, Germany and Iran. Then there’s a woman artist who hails from Syria but will perform in a different language. Iran is taking part in the festival for the first time. From Pakistan, Ajoka Theatre from Lahore and Tehrik-i-Niswan from Karachi will be seen doing their bit.
Head of Napa’s music department Nafees Ahmed said the first musical programme of the festival is called Mulaqat, to be held on March 13. It features works of two renowned collaborators over the years –– composer Arshad Mahmud and singer Nayyara Noor –– performed by Napa students. Though Nayyara Noor will not sing on the occasion, she will be there with Arshad Mahmud for a brief chitchat and to encourage the young musicians. The young artists will present the kalaam of eminent poets such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Nasir Zaidi and Ahmed Faraz –– all the compositions that Nayyara has sung.
Mr Nafees Ahmed said another gig involves Napa graduate Ahsan Bari who will collaborate with Italian folk musicians. Apart from that, Folk Rung will be presented on March 23 in the Napa lawns. The highlight of the programme is the presence of Akhtar Chanal Zehri from Balochistan. Also, Karachi’s music lovers will get to listen to ‘a capella’ performed by Italian musicians on March 27. Their Pakistani counterparts will join them in the act.
Zain Ahmed said this time around three venues will be used –– Zia Mohyeddin Theatre, Napa Basement and the lawns (on Saturdays). Zia Mohyeddin is directing two plays –– Agha Hashr’s Mureed-i-Shak, which will open the festival, and Court Martial. The Sri Lankan group will do a dance act on the subject of slavery, while the story of the Iranian play pivots around the romantic lives of Iranian women.
Napa’s graduates such as Meesam Naqvi, Zarqa Naz and Masood-ur-Rehman, too, have their plays lined up for the festival.
Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2019