In the age of digital streaming and on demand entertainment, Aadyam, India’s leading theatre institution by The Aditya Birla group has launched their Season 4 campaign – and it’s like nothing theatre has seen before.
Moving beyond the regular cognoscenti theatre crowd and reaching out to younger millennial audiences, Aadyam Season 4’s ‘Going Alive’ campaign invites them to forsake their ‘live streaming’ screens and experience the only storytelling form that literally lives and breathes right in front of the audience. Visually, the campaign artfully transforms the static play button into a theatre mask, conveying myriad emotions and acting as prop as well.
The idea is to offer theatre as an immersive, stimulating alternative to the limited choice of interesting entertainment experiences available to young seekers in metros today.
Aadyam’s new Artistic Director, theatre veteran Shernaz Patel, echoes this vision for the institution: ‘In this increasingly isolating digital world, I believe theatre is the only performing art that brings us together in an exciting and dynamic way. It is not passive. It requires that you partake in the story…that you use your imagination and be moved or entertained or affected by what is unfolding in front of you. And when the play is well told it can be magical. Because it unfolds in front of you. Because it is alive.’
As an institution, Aadyam has probably done more for the cause of fresh, new and well-produced quality theatre in India than any single other initiative. Three years in, Aadyam has staged a total of 150+ shows stemming from 17 plays across the country, spanning varied genres and attracting diverse audiences. Along the way, they’ve managed to make watching a play an experience; by immersing audiences in the world that the director has created on stage from the very moment they walk into the venue. The distinct smell of choriz and refreshing coconut water before one entered ‘Mini-Goa’ in Sunil Shanbag’s Loretta. The live ghazal singers making sure the audience is in key by the time the curtain rises on Purva Naresh’s Bandish singers.
Aadyam has been bringing theatre to people; now it’s time to bring more people to the theatre by reaching out to the people who shy away from the theatre because it is not a space they feel they belong to. With Season 4 of Aadyam, the aim is to initiate the uninitiated to the theatre community. Over the course of the season, the experience will no longer be limited to watching the play. For interested audiences, Aadyam will showcase the elements that are usually invisible behind-the-scenes.
Shernaz Patel promises that Season 4 will have ‘…carefully curated stories that will speak to you, move you, amuse you, thrill you. Plays that are all rooted right here in India. There is humour and adventure and love and song. They speak of hope and courage and uplift the human spirit. Each play is different in form and content. Each story is unique. But most of all these are directors and performers at the top of their game. And as with all Aadyam shows there are breathtaking sets and lights and costumes.’