Dear Friends,

I might have told some of you and the rest may have heard that i am one of the festival directors for ITFoK 2018, which is happening in Thrissur, Kerala between January 20-29. Well, like any festival run by a govt. body, it has its limitations, but i believe that we have had quite a free hand in selecting/sourcing the plays at least (except for the Malayalam ones) and have been able to bring a fair bit of diversity both in form and content to the selection. I would like to invite you all to come to Thrissur if you can, and even if you cant stay for the entire festival – i think it will be an interesting experience. if you cannot make it, please do let people know who maybe interested.

Some things:

  1. Please look at the website for the detailed schedule. Please note  that online bookings (30% of the tickets) will start soon and are likely to get sold out very fast (they say in a few hours) so those who want to book online, please keep yourself updated. I will let you know in advance if you are coming.
  1. The accomodation options recommended by ITFoK (price, cleanliness and proximity wise – close to the main venue which is the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi) are Mangala Tower (0487-2327461/9544541100); Palace Hotel (0487-2331666); Central Hotel (0487-2333314). I am sure that you will find other options online as well. Do book well in advance as rooms tend to get filled up fast.
  1. Thrissur is quite a nice town, about an hour plus from Kochi and i’m sure there will be interesting places nearby, so you can make a holiday of it as well. 🙂

Hope to see you there!! 🙂

I leave you with the curatorial note that i wrote recently for ITFoK 2018

Curatorial Note

The festival theme, i.e., ‘Reclaiming the Margins’ has guided our curatorial choices to a great extent. Since we were three festival directors instead of one, we brought different experiences and opinions to the table and it was through intense debates and discussions that our understanding of the theme evolved and sharpened. The quality and rigour of the performances and their ability to engage audiences was also a critical benchmark in the selection process.

We were looking for performances that bring to the forefront marginal voices, spaces and ways of seeing and being. Quite a few plays that are featured are based on real incidents – ‘Manus’ from Iran uses the style of verbatim theatre to narrate the experiences of refugees from Iran who were shunted off by Australia to the infamous ‘Manus’ detention camp, ‘Zig Zig’ from Egypt uses the documentary style to reconstruct an incident that happened nearly 100 years ago when British soldiers raided an Egyptian village and raped its women, ‘Samajswasthya’ is inspired by the life of a social reformer who was taken to court by the State on charges of obscenity. Some plays have originated from the lived experiences of the cast –  Many of the actors in ‘Borderline’ are refugees who have fled their own countries, ‘Kranti’ is enacted by children of sex workers in Mumbai’s red-light district. Other performances are a creative response to State Control, the curbing of the freedom of expression or growing violence (sexual, religious, caste based), intolerance and oppression. Apart from performances that are provocative and challenge established norms we have also provided space for those that use form and content to re-articulate and re-imagine existing ways of seeing and interpreting the world. The importance of joy, laughter, love and music in shaping a new world cannot be underestimated.

The festival also features several allied events – panel discussions, artist interactions, workshops, concerts and traditional performances, which we believe will enrich its ambience and provide further opportunities for engagement between practitioners, academics, students and audiences. In short, our curatorial choices have been guided by the provocative and reflective rather than that of easily consumable entertainment. Our hope is that audiences partaking of this festival will question, reflect and participate in turn and go beyond simply receiving the performances.

best wishes and a happy new year to you all!!