Earlier this month I had the great fortune to be invited to attend the India Theatre Forum conference which was being hosted by the extraordinary Ninasam theatre which is on the edge of the small village of Heggodu, ten kilometers from Sagara, which, in turn, is a five and a half hour drive from Mangalore.
I was there on behalf of the British Council. It was a privilege to attend the conference and learn something about the Indian Theatre scene. There were some provocative speakers who caused me to reflect on Stan’s Cafe, particularly the role of @ A E Harris (the conference was themed around Theatre Spaces). It was also a pleasure to meet the three other delegates in our party: Pauline Ross from The Derry Playhouse, Stephen Brett from The Nightingale in Brighton and my excellent room mate Abdul Shayek from National Theatre Wales were a lovely team to get to know.
On tour we usually only get invited to visit major cities, so it was fantastic to be deep in the Indian countryside. I became an object of curiosity on the morning I chose to walk into ‘work’, but it was well worth it to sample the sights, smells, sound and heat directly. The food was all eaten communally and was delicious.
As a great bonus I also saw a great range of shows, traditional and contemporary, dance and theatre those in Hindi and Kannada were challenging but it was fascinating nevertheless.