(Last Updated on : 19-06-2012)
Renowned Punjabi Theatre actor Tera Singh Chan brought an innovative twist to the Punjabi Theatre. The theatre of Punjab flourished mainly in the twentieth century and presently, it has extended to all parts of India, Pakistan, UK and Canada. The amateur companies mainly do the performances in Punjabi Theatre. Thus, the particular companies hardly come at the forefront of recognition. Punjabi theatre mainly showcases 'western drama' with a realistic and communally oriented drama, having close relation with Sanskrit drama. Punjabi folk materials are also an integral part of the Punjabi Theatre that is well exploited by the Punjabi theatre companies. The eminent Punjabi Theatre actor Sh Tera Singh Chan played an important role in establishing Indian People's Theatre Association, while another Punjabi theatre playwright and director, Baiwant Gargi played a vital role as a Professor of Indian Theatre at the University of Seattle. He has shaped Punjabi Theatre in the foreign lands and incorporated Punjabi folk and ritual elements in the Theatres there thus making it more popular.
Punjab Theatre Academy or PTA was set up in 1995, primarily with the aim of forming the foundation for the young south Asian community to understand and keep informed about their own cultures and traditions. PTA over the years has been a theatre company of Punjab that stresses on the works of a multi-cultural and diverse community thus catering to the richness this diversity brings to the lives of everyone. PTA was created as a non-political independent organization, whose premier aims are to promote awareness of Punjabi tradition and cultural activities, contributing towards the development of a new platform for younger generations to articulate their views.
Punjabi Theatre Academy has been conducting workshops in the technique and traditions of Punjabi theatre, which includes dance, drama and arts and music video. This project is being developed for local stages, but also for an international platform, thus it will maximize the use of a number of media networks for promotion and future entry in the film industry as well as in the local media networks.
Before the partition of Punjab, a few decades ago in Lahore an attempt was made when the mainstream Punjabi theatre was brought on urban stage even though the state had a long tradition of folk theatre. For the urban stage in Punjab, the plays were predominantly in English or Urdu. However, contemporary urban theatre with original plays in Punjabi is less than a century old. Modern Punjabi theatre credits its origin to an Irish actress, Norah Richards.
Robustness of Punjabi life and the earthy tones of the Punjabi language are the most interesting features in Punjabi theatre. Urban theatre in East Punjab grew with Balwant Gargi. Harcharan Singh, Atamjit and later Neelam Man Singh as well as Kewal Dhaliwal made significant contributions towards the popularization of Punjabi theatre. The scenario of theatre in West Punjab was not in the development front. However, the theatre of Punjab and the companies have developed to an international belt and strongly publicizes the culture and tradition of the vibrant Indian state.