Commercial theatre to be banned at Alhamra soon

Published 19 Nov, 2021 12:01pm

Secretary Information and Culture Raja Jahangir said the Lahore Arts Council was not meant for such activities.

The commercial theatre that has been taking place for the last many years on the premises of Lahore Arts Council (LAC) at the Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall and the Alhamra Cultural Complex would soon be banned, Secretary Information and Culture Raja Jahangir claimed while talking to Dawn.

Mr Jahangir said he was adamant to put an end to this commercial theatre at Alhamra because the LAC was not meant for such activities. He said since the LAC board of governors (BoG) was the competent authority to approve the move, the matter would be taken up in the next meeting of the board.

The BoG meeting is held quarterly. The last meeting was held on October 5, 2021 and the next meeting is expected to take place in coming January.

The secretary said once this commercial theatre activity would be over, the LAC would invite cultural bodies, the non-government organisations (NGOs) working on art and culture, parallel theatre groups, colleges and universities to stage quality plays at Alhamra on a no-profit-no-loss basis.

“The government does not want to rent out the halls of Alhamra for merely money but it wants qualitative and socially meaningful theatre performed under the umbrella of the council,” Raja Jahangir said and added that he had verbally conveyed to the council for putting an end to the low-brow commercial theatre and the agenda had been discussed for approval by the BoG. He said, if needed, a special meeting of the BoG would be called to finalise the modalities in this regard.

The secretary claimed that he had put in a lot of effort to bring an end to commercial theatre at Punjab Institute of Language Art and Culture (Pilac) and with the same zeal this exercise would be carried out at LAC.

He said a number of art enthusiasts, literary folks and other stakeholders had asked several times for moving out commercial theatre from the council’s premises and bringing socially meaningful and quality theatre.

Originally published in *Dawn, November 19, 2021*

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