After almost three decades of nurturing their dream, theatre personalities Arundhati and Jagdish Raja have finally seen it turn into a reality. Their dream was simple – a centre for the performing arts.
Jagriti, which means awakening, aims to be a hub for the performing arts when in people have the opportunity be participate rather than just be an audience. Jagriti is located in Whitefield.
The theatre intends to be a community centre where you can become involved, not just as audience, but be it as a participant in special workshops and lectures; an usher for shows or even as a host for visiting companies.
Not only is it a platform for artists but a space where performers can grow and develop. In addition to the auditorium itself, the arena also houses an outdoor theatre for readings, workshops, practices, a book reading corner and a restaurant – all of which will be reminiscent of a walk along the Seine in Paris with artists at work on either side.
For Arundhati, who has juggled performances on the Bangalore stage from 1977, with a career in teaching and the running of Artistes’ Repertory Theatre, the new theatre is the extension of the existing art space in Bangalore. She says that despite there being other platforms, few integrated dance, music and drama. With over 30 major productions under her belt as the Artistic director of ART, she feels that a place like Jagriti will, due to its relaxed yet stimulating atmosphere, hopefully promote younger people of the city to take up the arts.
"In addition to performances, we plan to encourage the learning of the arts with workshops and talks so that people are more aware of technique, so the quality of Bangalore’s artistic outcome is on par if not at a higher level than other places."
All through her endeavours and success, Jagadish Raja has stood and supported from the wings. Together and individually, the Rajas have worked in India’s English language theatre and those abroad as well. And their shared focus is collaboration through community; a vision that has given birth to ‘Jagriti’.
Mahesh Dattani, playwright, stage director and film maker, commended the efforts of the founders, for not only having this vision but more so for seeing it through to the very end. "Any city the size of Bangalore ought to celebrate the creation of more intimate performing arts spaces. Jagriti could not have been more timely. We have an exclusive theatre and allied arts space with a ‘Welcome’ mat firmly placed on its threshold. Truly an awakening for Bangalore theatre!"
The 8th of January will see the launch of the theatre with Prithvi Theatre’s Sanjana Kapoor and Rangashankara’s Arundhati Nag showing their support. Renowned sculptor and painter Yusuf Arakkal, is expected to unveil of a mural created especially for JAGRITI.
Following the opening, Jagriti will host the world premier of the stage adaptation of Anita Nair’s book, Mistress. The play, Nine Faces of Being, is directed by Arundathi Raja herself and will see actors Prakash Belawadi, Shashank Purushotham, Sukhita Aiyar, Akhil Iyer, Abhijeet Shetty, Anuja Vaidya and Harish Seshadri take centrestage starting on the 12th of January, until the 23rd of January. Tickets are available through the Jagrithi website.
The space has already been booked for other upcoming events including a music festival, Reservoir Dogs by Dramanon, Hamlet the Clown Prince by Mumbai’s Company Theatre and workshops related to the arts.