A fresh theatrical experience

Karachiites can now enjoy an advanced theatrical experience in the city’s first theatre to feature a revolving stage.


Saadia Qamar August 10, 2010

KARACHI: Karachiites can now enjoy an advanced theatrical experience in the city’s first ever theatre to feature a revolving stage, soundproof halls and digitally changeable backgrounds.

Funrama Entertainment and City District Government of Karachi (CDGK) are set to open their collaborative project, Shanzay City Auditorium, this Ramazan. The inauguration ceremony of the recently constructed theatre will feature a live performance by qawwal Amjad Sabri.

Other than serving as a hub for technically facilitated performances, Shanzay City Auditorium will also train students in drama and music, particularly in the genre of qawwali.

Presiding over a press briefing at the Karachi Press Club on Monday, veteran theatre director Syed Furqan Haider said, “Shanzay City Auditorium has been created in the city with the hope that this new academy will promote performing arts of the country.”

The first auditorium of its kind is said to have the first revolving stage and digitally changeable background accommodating a seating capacity of 750 people.

Addressing the press conference with Haider was qawwal Amjad Sabri, who is also the resident director of the auditorium. “We had requested Pervez Musharraf during his tenure and now President Asif Ali Zardari that we require a place where we can teach and practice qawwali; in short, to have a qawwali institute, but they did not pay any heed to our call. It was then that the CDGK came forward and helped us establish this institute,” Sabri said.

About the future of qawwali, Sabri said, “Certainly, there is a future for qawwali in the county. In the recent past with the passing away of great qawwals like Aziz Mian, my father Ghulam Farid Sabri and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, there has been a prominent gap, but I believe I have been able to achieve 70 per cent of the said target and reduce this gap.”

According to Sabri, “I recently performed in Montreal, Canada, a place where most French-speaking people reside. After listening to my qawwali, as many as nine people from the crowd came over and converted to Islam.”

While Sabri is working on the soundtrack for a Bollywood film, he was hesitant to reveal details. “I won’t name the movie, but I am working as a music director for an Indian film. I’m doing five songs for it.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2010.

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