Theatre in India, much like other places in the world, has a paradoxical image. As those in the Indian theatre scene would attest, dearth of funds and the occasional distracted audience remain an obstacle in what should otherwise be a free-flowing creative pursuit. At the same time, there is a small but significant section of the intelligentsia that gives the scene a cerebral hue, making it perceivably inaccessible to those who may not be so actively clued into the theatre scene. But all that is set to change this year.
With the Aditya Birla Group taking a keen interest in being a mentor with a creative mind, Aadyam will serve as a catalyst to streamline stage management, encourage marketing ideas, as well as groom administrative structure in the world of the arts. This will, in turn, optimise the results at the box office.
Committed to producing quality performances, Aadyam is working towards becoming India’s gateway to artistic expression for meaningful experiences and capacity audiences. Aadyam is making its foray first with theatre and intends to extend its interests to other forms of the performing arts.
Aadyam is a belief, a promise, and a commitment to the institution of creative expression. When Aadyam was conceptualised two years ago with the vision to assist the burgeoning theatre scene in India by providing a platform where theatre groups could focus on their creative pursuits while leaving production-related disquiet in the trusted hands of this initiative.
This is not a glorified manner to present financial sponsorship; this is the simplest way to put down the contribution to which Aadyam is committed. The process of production begins almost as soon as a creative idea germinates. Even before the script is finalised, one is already worrying about finding the right cast and chalking out a play with the same production value that one had envisaged when the idea first came into being. If the cast is perfect, one may not necessarily afford it. If one can afford their dream cast, they need not necessarily have the wherewithal to see through an extensive marketing campaign. Then, somewhere in all of this is the anxiety of not knowing whether the halls will run to full houses, or whether one will be able to recover the costs of the production, whether one needs to tweak a script for commercial gains, and — ever so often — whether it’s worth all this rigmarole.
So when Aadyam was created as an ally to the Indian theatre scene, it was based on the idea that if there’s a theatre group with a splendid idea for a play, all it needs to do is to develop it to scale. In 2015, five theatre groups were finalised to present nine shows each of five new productions, across Mumbai and Delhi. Aadyam went a step further and curated thematic experiences before each performance that tied in the essence of the play and gave the viewer a slice of what’s to come. From vintage photo booths that harked back to the time of Sherlock Holmes to poker tables that went with the gambling theme of the New Age Merchant of Venice, stepping into an Aadyam venue meant suspending our reality and going on a sensory theatrical experience.
Simultaneously, Aadyam addressed an oft refrained notion about theatre in India, and the world at large -Theatre is notionally divided into categories like regional-means-massy and English-spells-classy. The air of elitism surrounding English theatre stems from perceived snobbery. The swift derision of the regional scene as being devoid of finesse is unfair to say the least.
By making the experience of engaging with theatre more accessible and less obscure, Aadyam, through its first edition itself, has brought in newer audiences while putting together plays of impeccable production values for seasoned theatregoers. Rding high on this successful concept last year, Aadyam has arrived in 2016 with five more new productions.