Keith Sequeira and Jeh Alexander, first year mass media students from St Andrew’s College, Bandra, are rehearsing for a play at Thespo, an initiative in the city to promote youth theatre.
“Although I have performed plays in school, Thespo made me realise there is much more to acting than I originally thought,” said Sequeira, who also attends regular theatre workshops.
Like Sequeira and Alexander, several college students are actively involved in theatre performances across the city.
Astha Arora, 22, a post graduate journalism student from KC College, Churchgate, is all set to play the lead role in Yeh Jo Dil Hai Na, a play directed by Om Katare, at Prithvi Theatre, Juhu, on October 12.
Arora got her first opportunity to do professional theatre in 2010, in ‘Section 377’ directed by late Satyadev Dubey, a Padma Bhushan recipient.
“Barring a few, college theatre events are generally shaped to entertain the crowd and are not given as much importance as a fashion show or dance event,” said Arora. She has also directed a 10-minute play ‘Upekshita’, based on female foeticide, at the National Centre for Performing Arts, Nariman Point.
Colleges in the city also provide exclusive platforms to students to encourage theatre. Ithaka, the intra-college theatre festival at St Xavier’s College, and Olio, an inter-college theatre festival organised by St Andrew’s College, Bandra are two popular venues for theatre enthusiasts. These events often act as a launch pad for a career in theatre.
“One can experiment and learn in these festivals. The professional world offers no such second chances,” said Vikrant Dhote, a former student of St Xavier’s College who works for Theatre Professional, a production company in Mumbai.
Ayesha Thomas, 20, a final year literature student at Sophia College, heads the Drama Association which consists of more than 100 students. “We were the only undergraduate team this year to win a major prize at Admit One, a national level theatre festival in Bangalore,” said Thomas.
Thomas believes it is important to have proper guidance from seniors in college to get the maximum out of college theatre.
“During my first year, the secretary of the association was very proactive. That year, our annual performance of ‘Silence, Court in Session’ was well received and as a result, we performed at the YB Chavan auditorium too,” said Thomas.