To breathe a new life into Parsi theatre in the state, the first ever Parsi theatre academy in the country will start functioning soon in Surat. The academy is expected to play a crucial role in promoting theatre activities, specifically among schoolchildren.
The brain behind the academy, Yezdi Karanjia â€” who has been staging Parsi plays for decades â€” told TOI that if all goes well, the academy, located in Muglisara area of the city, will be thrown open to the public on February 27 as part of platinum jubilee of Yezdi Karanjia Theatre Group. Karanjia admitted that with the number of Parsis at large dwindling, the number of Parsi theatre artistes too has declined and theatre activities are limited to Pateti celebrations only.
“It is not going to be one of those swanky academies. It is a humble, but firm beginning of a long-term process to keep the flame of Parsi theatre burning. While we are proud of that fact that we are the only theatre group in the state, it also causes us immense pain; we want the younger lot to take control over the stage now. The academy will work on generating interest in theatre among schoolgoing Parsi boys and girls so that they realise the importance of theatre,” says Karanjia.
The basics of Parsi theatre, however, would be different at the academy according to Karanjia, who is known for adapting to new-age theatre with the changing times. “We don’t want to make the course boring by teaching the nitty-gritty of theatre. Today’s generation is impatient and we have to consider that fact while teaching them,” he said.
“We would have short workshops on acting, direction and other aspects of theatre but it will be more of a crash course,” said Meharnosh Karanjia, an actor and part of the academy. Initially, the academy was planned for Parsis only, but, “We thought of letting others also take interest in Parsi theatre and hence, decided to make it open for all. The first batch, of about 25 boys and girls found to be genuinely interested in theatre, would be divided into two age groups of seven to 15 years and 15 years and above,” Karanjia said.
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