Sanchaya, a theatre group in Bangalore, through its initiate Sanchaya Cares, wishes to support artistes whose livelihoods have been robbed due to the pandemic
The Covid19 pandemic has affected everyone. Majority of the population had two battles to face early this year – one on the health front, the other on the financial front. While for some, things seem to be getting better, the artistic community continues to be severely hit, making everyday living itself a huge burden. Given the situation where no live art performances are possible, most artistes are out of livelihood.
Narayanappa (name changed) is one such professional artiste in Bengaluru who has spent almost 60 years of his life in theatre activities. To make ends meet, he now does mono-act and dialogue delivery in temples hoping the visitors would appreciate and offer some money. “All he knows and has done throughout his life is ‘theatre’. So what else do you expect him to do?” asks Keerthi Bhanu, Founding Member, Sanchaya, a three-decade-old theatre group in Bengaluru.
“To see our fellow actors and technicians going through this crisis is painful. We initially managed to put together one lakh rupees and supported 33 senior artistes. But there was a large group that we had left out, and we decided to do something on a larger scale,” he explains. Those who received the modest Rs. 3000 wrote long, thanking letters. “It meant so much to them.”
Most artistes do not want “free money”. They want to perform, and be paid for it. To address this problem, the team conceptualised ‘Sanchaya Cares’ through which the theatre fraternity could gather funds and support artistes in a dignified manner. Through this initiative, a set of plays are selected, recorded and uploaded for online viewership. This will not only make these plays available to Kannadigas around the world, but also gives these artistes visibility.
Sanchaya’s idea has been welcomed by the entire fraternity. Video recordists and lighting experts have offered their service at lower rates than usual. Shankaraa Foundation offered its auditorium free of cost to record their plays. “Director Pawan Kumar was so delighted to know about this initiative that he offered his web space, Filmmakers’ United Club, launched in June this year for supporting cinema and other art forms during the pandemic,” informs Bhanu.
Sanchaya plans to support senior and women artistes through this carefully monitored initiative. Apart from money collected through tickets for each of their shows, it also seeks donations from individuals and corporates willing to support the cause. Those who support the cause get free access to watch our plays.
To start with, the team has selected five plays – Shraddha mattu Stainless Steel Patregalu, based on the essays by Vasudhendra and Srinivasa Vaidya, Shakespeare’s Tempest and Neeru Kudisida Neereyaru, Prasanna’s Tadroopi and TP Kailasam’s Ammavra Ganda, performed by Vati Kuteera, Sanchaya, Samashti and Prakasam.
Sanchaya Cares will be inaugurated on Filmmakers United Club (thefuc.in) on October 2. Tickets are priced at Rs. 400. For more details, follow Sanchaya Theatre Group’s FB page.