Inaugural Dhaka International Theater Festival

A new dawn broke in the theatrical world of Bangladesh on 21 May 2011, with the very first staging of the Dhaka International Theater Festival. It was a big moment for the country, as well as theater groups, and at the inauguration, presented by the Bangladesh Centre of the International Theater Institute, the president of the organization, Ramundu Majumdar gave his opening speech. Also present at the inauguration of the festival, was Jhuna Chowdhury (Bangladesh Group Theater Federation Secretary General), Abdul Kalam Azad (Cultural Minister) and Liakat Ali Lucky (BSA Director).

The Dhaka International Theater Festival is a ten day event, where a fascinating and entertaining program has been scheduled. Not only will theater groups from Bangladesh be participating in the festival, but groups from Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Nepal. In his address at the inauguration, Majumdar thanked the other countries for their participation, and added that “Because of its various continuing initiatives like organizing seminars, festivals, workshops and above all, bringing out publications, Bangladesh ITI enjoys a prestigious position among the ITI member-countries.” After the opening speeches, the festival kicked off in high gear with Kohe Birangana, which is a play that was written by Shuvashis Sinha and produced by the Manipuri Theater. It is based on Birangana Kabyo, written by Michael Madhusudan Dutt and adapted for the stage, featuring four female characters, Dushala, Shakuntala, Jona and Draupadi. Their letters to their husbands are narrated in the play, with one character expressing her despair at being left by her husband, and the other expressed her rage as she lives with challenging situations, while her husband is indulging in various pleasures.

This play was followed by a production named Shades, by the Singapore Buds Theater Company, which highlighted religion, love and culture. It shed light on the globalization era that is developing in Singapore at present. The festival will he hosted at the National Theater, Studio Theater and Experimental Theater, where twenty five plays a day will be featured. It is hoped that the Dhaka International Theater Festival will become an annual event and draw locals to become familiar with the theater industry and develop the art in the country, by drawing interest from aspiring actors.