“I am very excited to see Pakistani theatre at the festival"
The Arts Council of Karachi has taken a step into reviving theatre via the Pakistan Theatre Festival, which started on September 8, 2023, and is due to run until October 8, 2023.
The event debuted with two short plays, Abdullah and Patriot.
Abdullah is based on the comedic relationship between high-class society and their househelp, portrayed by Yusra Irfan, Asma Niaz and Omar Cheema.
Meanwhile, Patriot, written and directed by Salman Shahid, is more of a serious play.
It is based on political headlines and stories ranging from the era of former Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf.
The festival is believed to consist of 45 show panels and a workshop for the culture section.
Munawar Saeed, the Vice President of the Arts Council, and legendary playwright Anwar Maqsood were seen at the ceremony.
Usman Peerzada, Behroze Sabzwari, Javed Sheikh, Sajid Hasan and Hiba Bukhari were also present at the festival.
American theatre group Uplift Physical Theatre has also travelled to Pakistan in order to perform Through the Waves on the second day of the festival.
The play consists of three women, who will perform acrobatics and dance to portray the story of a woman whose husband was killed in a car accident, as told by cast member Hannah Gaff.
Hannah previously came to Pakistan and taught physical theatre to the students of the Arts Council of Pakistan (ACP).
Speaking of her trip, Hannah said:
“When I came to Pakistan before I was transformed. The way I teach, the way I interact, the way I perform.
“Cultural exchanges really help us open our eyes to see different perspectives and kind of allow us fresh eyes on our lives.
“I am very excited to see Pakistani theatre at the festival so I can learn more about how theatre is made here.”
According to ACP President Mohammad Ahmed Shah, the motive of the festival is to highlight a soft image of Pakistan.
He said: “This is the first time we are having a theatre festival of this scale with international partnerships. We have tried to create diversity as well as unity.
“We want to send out an image of Pakistan that reflects its people despite difficult circumstances.
“There is so much inflation and people are stressed. The news going through TV channels and social media is all negative.
“The idea behind the festival is to give them an opportunity to smile and send out a soft image of Pakistan.”
Mohammad also revealed that there would be a number of topics covered in the festival, including taboo, political and social.
Ahmed Moosa, an artist from Egypt, called the festival amazing and that he was excited to see the performances.
“Honestly, people are so amazing, I don’t feel like I’m not at home. I can relate to a lot of stuff here in Pakistan.”
“There are a lot of common words between Urdu and Arabic. I know ‘Shukriya (thank you)’’ and a lot of other words.
“I tried a lot of Pakistani food and it was delicious. The guys warned me about it being spicy but I think it’s ok.”
Ahmed went on to say that his aim was to see as many performances as he could.