Following govt directions: Rawalpindi Arts Council looks to commercial events

Official says new policy will allow them to host bigger productions with star cast


Zulfiqar Baig December 15, 2018
PHOTO COURTESY: RAWALPINDI ARTS COUNCIL

ISLAMABAD: With the provincial government claiming at every opportunity that its coffers are empty, it has decided to at least make its cultural centres self-sufficient, if not turn a profit.

The Punjab government, under its Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chauhan, has devised a plan whereby arts councils in Rawalpindi, Murree and other parts of the province, including Faisalabad, Multan and the capital Lahore profitable by operating them on a commercial basis.

In this regard, Chauhan has directed that all arts councils utilise their space and organise cultural shows such as theatre, musical programmes and that the administration charge tickets for admission in a bid to raise revenue and modernise their facilities.

In this regard, the Rawalpindi Arts Council has decided to charge tickets for a humorous play it aims to show on December 28. The play has been produced by Sultan Romail, while Amna Khan has directed it and Amir Zaryab penned it.

A Rawalpindi Arts Council spokesperson told Daily Express that previously, the Punjab government used to allocate an annual budget for them which paid for the council’s expenses such as cultural events, workshops and overheads.

However, in light of the government’s directions to operate commercially and generate revenue, they were finalising arrangements for producing and presenting commercial theatre.

He added that they, and arts councils in cities across the province, will be aiming to follow the example of the Alhamra Hall in Lahore, which raises substantial funds annually by organising a host of cultural events.

He went on to say that by operating the council commercially, it would not only allow them to organise events and programmes for the public’s entertainment but they will also be able to attract renowned actors and artistes to perform — which will, in turn, allow them to attract more patrons and make more money.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2018.

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