Punjab Information and Culture Ministry struggles to streamline commercial theatre

Punjab’s Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan has taken various steps to eradicate the issues

Adnan Lodhi March 04, 2019

LAHORE: The Punjab Information and Culture Ministry has put a lot of effort into trying to streamline the commercial theatre industry. However, it has met with much difficulty due to the prevalence of vulgarity, inappropriate scripts and expensive tickets.

These issues are seen in commercial theatres throughout Punjab, particularly in bigger cities. Government instructions are being ignored due to which, families are still reluctant to watch the plays.

Details provide that Lahore’s commercial theatre industry is still facing these problems on a very wide scale. These issues have persisted from the previous government's tenure.

Professional artists and producers are demanding a crack down against artists and producers that are promoting vulgarity in the name of entertainment. “After the halt on Indian films in cinemas, the importance of theatre has increased. Therefore, many film viewers' first priority is theatre now so people in the audience within theatre halls has increased," senior theatre producer Qaiser Javed told The Express Tribune.

He added, "But there are still many issues within the theatre industry. Selling of tickets in black, expensive tickets, vulgarity and inappropriate scripts are all still there. Families are still avoiding our shows because no one is resolving these problems."

It is pertinent to mention here that last month, a theatre advisory committee was specifically established by the Information and Culture Ministry for streamlining the affairs of the theatre industry. However, the committee's performance has proved to be a disappointment thus far.

“The industry was in dire need of the Theatre Advisory Council, comprised of theatre artists and senior professionals from this industry. However, the council is not effective because the members are not fully aware of the issues at hand," said a senior artist, seeking anonymity.

He added, "Theatre is a very important part of the entertainment industry as it garners a large number of viewers. We hope that the current government will consider its importance soon."

This situation is quite disheartening for those working towards the revival of the commercial theatre in Pakistan. Nonetheless, Punjab’s Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan has taken various steps for the welfare of artists and the eradication of said issues. He is working hard for a better theatre industry and for the first time ever, health insurance for artists has also been introduced.

Other constructive activities are being undertaken by Chohan and his team. A number of excellent events have been held all around the province, especially in Lahore, under the supervision of the minister. A big programme, Voice of Punjab will also be launching soon.

However, although he has taken such initiatives for the welfare of the theatre industry the Theatre Advisory Council has failed to provide positive results.

“The current situation o the commercial theatre is very alarming," began stage actor Sitara Baig. She continued, "The main issue is the non-professionalism pf artists. Many senior theatre are not willing to work at commercial level due to the issues persistent within the industry."

Edited by Ramsha Vistro.

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