LAHORE: Lahore’s commercial theatre has generated record-breaking profits over the recent four-day holiday, mainly from the first day of Eid. The first spell of shows witnessed full attendance across various theatre houses, bringing in the revenue.
According to sources, the first three days garnered around Rs50 million from 50 theatre halls in Punjab. Lahore brought in the most income, with about Rs12 million from ticket sales. As a result, theatre artists will be receiving record payments this time around, as compared to previous years. Also, the plays will be staged for another 12 days and theatre producers continue to expect maximum response from the public.
“We usually have a very specific viewership but this year, we have noticed a newer, happier audience,” stage dancer Sitara Baig shared with The Express Tribune. “The less experienced artists have also received around Rs500, 000 for performances while top artists are being paid about Rs2 million for their work. This is all due to the amazing response we have received from the public this year.”
At a time when local films are doing well, theatre groups have also taken one step forward during the festive season. The business is currently at its peak in Punjab, especially Lahore. Other big cities including Gujranwala, Multan, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi also witnessed great footfall during Eid, where theatre artists had the chance to entertain the public.
Various shows continue to play at Lahore’s Al-Falah Theatre, Tamaseel Theatre, Mehfil Theatre, Naaz Theatre, Shalimar Theatre and others, in the presence of numerous monitoring teams.
“Previously, we would only see three artists perform during the Eid period, namely Nargis, Khushboo and Megha. Due to the lack of performing artists, the response from the public wasn’t great but this year, it has all changed,” said senior actor and director Goshi Khan. “I am also very glad to see families making their way to commercial theatre halls to watch performances without having to worry about the content of the plays. We have received no complaints regarding vulgarity or unsuitability as of yet.”
This year, Tamaseel Theatre did particularly well and brought in most of the proceeds with the play Aashiq Rungbaaz Nikla, which features a cast comprising of some of Lahore’s best theatre artists, namely Naseem Vicky, Nasir Chinyoti, Nagaar Chaudhary, Husna, Feroza, Sakhawat Naaz and Mahak Noor.
According to a ticket counter official, around Rs5 million were generated through sales within the three days of Eid, Rs2 million of which were made on day one. Around Rs1.8 million were made at Al-Falah Theatre and Rs1.6 million at Shalimar Theatre.
Theatre related officials and artists have stated that this success is down to the monitoring system and due to the improvement in the quality of plays. They expect the revenue to increase dramatically over the next two weeks.
“We are seeing a golden time in theatre after many years and we are all very happy,” expressed senior theatre actor Ashraf Rahi. “The monitoring teams have been active for the last three months, controlling vulgarity and inappropriate dialogues. Due to such strict rules, we have been able to witness such an amazing response from the public.”
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