The day came and went! In fact, three of them in a row. 2018 was the golden jubilee year of the foundation of Nagorik Natya Sampradaya, the theatre group I belong to. More importantly, this is the year that marked the forty-fifth anniversary of continuous staging of plays in Bangladesh. This was a singular achievement of my group. No mean job, that!
We have been planning this for almost a year and all the members of the group, excited and energized, rolled their sleeves and got to work. It was some hard work indeed. We pulled off the festival with all natural fanfare and gaiety. Every one played their role. Now came the time of stock taking. It is said that nothing succeeds like success. That said, it would be foolhardy to consider this festival as just yet another event. The fest over, I took some time out to focus on what was so extraordinary in this event that made us cry in bliss even when the ceremony was on and I was up on the stage! The fact of the matter is that when in '73 we started the movement, it was with a view to establishing a medium of art that did not exist here during the colonial era. It dawned on a few young people who had just returned from the war of independence that something substantial had to be done in the field of culture to give the newly born country a distinct identity. People ask 'why theatre'? The answer is simple. We all need a medium to express our thoughts, feelings and philosophy. Some people paint. Some others write poetry or take to sculpture, we took to theatre. Was this just an expression of the inner self? Or was there any other thought that inspired us to dabble in theatre. Verily there was. We wanted to establish this powerful medium as a regular medium of expression in this part of the world. Today, looking back, I think it can securely be said that the objective has been fulfilled. An impressive array of about fifty original and world renowned plays, some of which are time tested classics. About two thousand performances. Forty-five years of passionate practice. And I dare say that we have been able to prove a point. The rest is history.