KARACHI: The annual Karachi Theatre Festival organised by the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi will be held from Oct 1 to Oct 18. This was announced by the council’s president Ahmed Shah at a press conference on Monday evening. The announcement has come a few days after the council’s Awami Theatre Festival kicked off, which will conclude on Oct 4.

Mr Shah said he was surprised to see the kind of enthusiasm that the ongoing Awami Festival has received. Only the day before hundreds of people who wanted to enter the open-air hall had to be sent back because of lack of space. For the annual Karachi Festival, he told the media that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) will be followed strictly. Viewers will be allowed to sit in the hall with a gap of one [empty] seat. Masks will be provided to those who come without them and hands will be sanitised at the entrance.

Meesam Naqvi, a graduate of the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa), who is the festival’s coordinator, said there will be three workshops on how to design or structure stage plays during the event. They will be conducted by theatre persons Fawad Khan, Kashif Husain and Vajdaan Shah. It will help people understand that it’s not an easy job and requires a fair amount of effort. Then there will be three talks on the topics of theatre practitioner’s dilemma; the past, present and future of theatre in Pakistan; and can theatre help TV regain its lost glory.

Mr Naqvi said a total of 22 plays will be staged in the festival ranging from serious plays to comedies to movement sets. The first is Heer directed by Zain Ahmed followed by Ladies Tailor helmed by Sameena Nazir on Oct 2. The last play is Bedroom Conversations directed by Khalid Ahmed.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2020