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Theatre: The Big Stage

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Theatre has been one of the oldest performing arts across the country, and it has been revived in certain metros including Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai. Better educational and cultural environment, as well as patronage from the local communities have perhaps, helped theatre thrive better in these cities.

The Chennai theatre scene is abuzz with budding talent. Chennai has been home to Tamil and English plays staged across venues like the Museum Theatre, Goethe Institute, Music Academy, various sabhas, and the Alliance Francais, which have contributed enormously to theatre culture. The plays staged include slapstick comedy, drama, history and political satire. Social themes are also taking centre stage nowadays.

Shraddha, United Amateur Artistes, Viveka Fine Arts among others blazed the path for theatre in Chennai. The sabhas were the answer to the club culture left behind by the British. Rationalist playwrights like M. Karunanidhi, Annadurai, and actors including N.S.Krishnan, Sivaji Ganesan, M.G.Ramachandran and M.R.Radha propelled dramas forward. They slowly graduated from the footlights to the silver screen. Dramatists like R.S.Manohar and S.V. Sahasranamam innovated plays with a free hand.

Tamil theatre thrived in the 1960s, which saw the emergence of theatre artistes, amateurs who dabbled in theatre, holding steady jobs elsewhere.'Cho' Ramaswamy and K. Balachander became very popular. B.Chandramouli, S.Ve. Sheker and 'Crazy' Mohan came in the 1980s and were very innovative and experimental.

Theatre festivals are becoming popular, with Chennai becoming home to the Metroplus Theatre Festival and Live in August, among others.The Madras Players, Evam, Stray Factory and Masquerade Youth Theatre, are contribuiting immensely to take the theatre scene forward.

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