Napa second year student Abu Bakar recites poetry from the corner minaret.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Napa second year student Abu Bakar recites poetry from the corner minaret.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: Students of the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) put their heart and soul into the poetry, music and theatrical performances which they put on during the academy’s day-long annual open house here on Saturday.

Of all the segments, the one deserving special mention would have to be the Terrace Poetry Corner. It was quite an experience listening to the students reciting poetry from one of the academy building minarets overlooking the lawn. The people on the lawn had a clear view of the performer and he of them. The expressions from above fused with emotions from below to create an air of originality, individuality and artistry, not to mention innovation.

Ali Abbas Mirza, head of marketing and brand communications at Napa, said that this was a first of its kind performance at the academy, where they tried to create new spaces for students to express their creativity.

Expressing his views about the Terrace Poetry Corner, Senator Javed Jabbar, who is also a member of the Board of Directors of Napa, told Dawn that he felt humbly privileged to be part of the academy. “This is one of the heights that Napa is in the process of conquering,” he said smiling.

“We have just reached the first floor for now. Inshallah, over the next 18 years after the great legacy by Zia Mohyeddin, we will go to the other floors,” he added.

Meanwhile, at the Music Stage there was continuous singing and music from 3pm till 7pm. Someone played a famous composition, local or foreign, someone sang a song. They sang in Urdu, English, Punjabi and Balochi.

S.M. Shahid, Napa’s advisor on music, said there was some serious work going on at the academy in music now. “We heard a lot of modern music here but classical music, too, has found serious focus here,” he said.

“That is the thing that one should learn in order to become a good ghazal singer or a thumri singer. Like we had Tufail Naizi, who was a folk singer. But he was trained in classical music and that’s how he became a good folk singer. The students here are in good hands as the faculty here is very good,” he added.

At the Garden Theatre Stage, there was Dastaan Goe, which was enjoyed by many along with dance and Shakespearean sonnets. Daniel Gott, who is assistant professor at the American University of Sharjah, was also there for the experience as well as to share Shakespearean sonnets.

He told Dawn that he met one of Napa’s graduates at the theatre in Dubai who had told him about this beautiful theatre school here. “So I just reached out when I was free and he pulled me by the arm and brought me here. I reached yesterday and arranged a workshop for the students and now we are about to do some Shakespeare,” he said.

“It’s been fantastic. I have been impressed by the students here, by their passion, their openness and versatility. It is really inspiring to see that and it is great,” he said, adding that they had a theatre, film and music programme at American University of Sharjah.

“So we are hoping that this might be the start of some kind of a future relationship,” he said, adding that they could perhaps bring people from other countries to Pakistan and vice versa.

At Bag-i-Sukoon, one could relax and learn to paint with art teacher Hina Yusuf. All over the campus one also ran into students dressed up as interesting iconic characters such as Maula Jatt, PK, Maleficent, etc., who were all students of improvisation teacher Zarka Naz, who is herself a Napa graduate of 2016.

CEO Napa Junaid Zuberi told Dawn that this was the third open house at the academy. “We introduced it in December of 2021. It is an annual student’s day where they display what they have learned here,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2023

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