The 14th Youth Performing Arts Festival commenced at the Alhamra Cultural Complex on Thursday with the venue illuminated in a riot of colours.
“Eighty six performances have been organised in connection with the festival. Around 50 institutions are participating in it,” Alena Peerzada, the festival director, said. Peerzada said the organisers had packed them together over the first three days with an awards night being organised at its final day.
She said workshops were organised in the festival’s morning sessions. Peerzada said this was followed by screenings of short films. Peerzada said junior schoolchildren’s plays took place early in the evening followed by a varsity-level theatre competition. “The festival ends on a grand note with a musical performance, a dance performance and a rock show, one for every night,” she said.
Peerzada said the workshops included one by dancer Suhae Abro and another by dancer Wahab Riaz. She said the two would be talking about contemporary dance at their workshops. Peerzada said the festival also featured workshops on creative writing, acting and puppetry by Mashal, Yamina and Imraan Peerzada.
“The girls and I are singing the cup song tonight,” Sameena Abid of Sacred Heart Convent School, who was visibly nervous before her performance, said. She said this was so as she had never performed before such a large audience. “I came to the festival last year and really enjoyed it,” Abid said.
Ten drama performances and a puppet show by various educational institutions including National College of Arts (NCA), University of Central Punjab (UCP), Government College University (GCU), Frobel’s International School, Unique School, the FAST University, Kinnaird College for Women, University College Lahore and the NUST were organised on the festival’s inaugural day. Various musical performances held in the open air theatre at the venue drew the day to a close. “This is the second time I have come here and it’s pretty good. I don’t remember seeing the horsemen and life-size puppets at the entrance the previous year. The dance performances were great last year. I hope they are just as good this time around,” NCA penultimate year student Samana Ansari said.
The four-day festival has been organised by the Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop in collaboration with the Royal Norwegian Embassy. The event is being facilitated by the Lahore Arts Council.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2015.