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Activities / Theatre

Activities of the Theatre Wing

It was in 1916, when the institute had staged its first ever Theatre production ‘Vinod’, a satire written
Theatre Institute in India
by Late Shri. Madhavrao Joshi. V. Shantaram, Bhalji Pendharkar and Baburao Pendharkar, who later became prominent personalities of Indian Cinema, played the key-roles. The play was very well received. Through the shows of this play, the institute was then raising funds, so as to fulfill its dream of having its own premises. His Highness Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shri Shahu Maharaja made it a point to attend one of the shows. Much impressed by the show, he generously donated a piece of land and a sum of Rs. 3000/-. This noble gesture was instrumental to the construction of the Club's old building. The theatre wing thus founded, kept on organising popular musical operas of the time like Manapman, Ekach Pyala and so on.
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These productions included celebrity artists like Bal Gandharv, Keshavrao Bhosale, Nanasaheb Phatak, Hirabai Badodekar, Damuanna Malvankar and so on. However, it was in the late 60's when the idea of staging plays with the objective of exploring the talents of club members started emerging. The club staged ‘Swayamvar’, ‘Saubhadra’, ‘Sharada’, the all time classics of traditional Marathi Theatre in a memorable way. All these productions were mainly funded and supported by The Kolhapur Sugar Mills. In 1972, the club presented a challenging opera, 'Rakshasee Mahatvakanksha', which was widely appreciated. 'Jaydev', a famous musical play written by Late Shri. Govindrao Tembe, was however the most successful production, being specially awarded by the Cultural Department of the State Government.

During this period, contemporary Marathi Theatre was undergoing revolutionary changes. On the one side, various great plays from foreign languages were being either translated or adapted and then being staged for the first time in Marathi. The contribution of the new playwrights on the other hand, initiated introspection amongst the theatre workers, giving rise to the newer dimensions of play production, which had an altogether different vision. The
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situation was obviously inspiring for any theatre artist to be motivated by this movement and the Theatre Wing of Gayan Samaj, Deval Club was not an exception to this. 'Shitu' was the first production to be noted as the institute’s changing theatre sensitivities. Then onwards, the Theatre Wing never really looked back and produced a number of remarkable productions, many of them being awarded in the State Drama Competition, which is a major contemporary theatre movement. They include the plays of Vijay Tendulkar, Rabindranath Tagore, Dharmaveer Bharati, Go. Pu. Deshpande, Bhishma Sahni and Shyam Manohar.

These theatre productions, with variety in their socially relevant content, as in the presentation style and form, has today made this institute one of the leading theatre groups of the country. It is because of this consistent contribution that Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Natya Parishad has felicitated the institute with Kakasaheb Khadilkar Award of 1991. While being engaged in the productions, the institute has never overlooked the aspect of theatre training. The institute periodically arranges special workshops on various aspects of play-production and has tried to train theatre artists from time to time. Now in the coming years, the institute is aiming at starting a Regional Theatre Training Center and is also planning to undertake the movement of ‘Little Theatre’. The necessary infrastructure is being incorporated in the new club building, which is under construction.

Theatre Productions in India