Sunday, October 08, 2006

Open Air Auditorium in neglected state

Open Air Theaters/ Audi- tourism, much alien to India and its people. But I was surprised to see one such Open Air Auditorium in Cuddalore, unfortunately in a neglected state.

This theater is at the south-west end of the Manjakuppam Maidan. Locals say that the theater was operational until a few decades back. They say even the most celebrated artists of Tamil film industry and popular dramatists had performed in the very stage.

The theater is spread over a vast area and can accommodate huge crowd. It is located in one of the most easily accessible part of Cuddalore. But what lead it to this state of ruin perplexes me.

Since the theater is so large,the audience at the back rows would not have had a better look at the stage. This might have been a reason for decline of popularity among people. This problem can be addressed by providing a downward slope towards the stage. Lack of proper toilet facilities for the audiences might be another possible reason.

In addition arrangement for a food kiosk can be made to attract more audience.This will also serve as a means of refreshment during the breaks of large performances.

This theater can be used for performing various traditional arts. Particularly foreign tourists would love to see such shows. Now states such as Assam and Arunachala Pradesh are taking some serious steps to promote tourism following Kerala, Rajasthan, but Government of TamilNadu remains unmindful. For both Kerala and Rajasthan folks arts are important source of attraction. Pondicherry is also doing a great job to attract both foreign and domestic tourists. If the Open Air Theatre is developed as center flaunting rich heritage of region through dance and musical performances.

Also since it is located in Beach Road, weekend shows would attract a huge crowd. Arrangements for regular weekend shows can also be made.This may also serve a means of income for the near extinct traditional performers.

Photo Courtesy: Narendar Kumar

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