Restarting an old tradition
The Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi has always been home to Karachi’s theater. The best of Karachi’s theater has always emanated from our institution, ever since its inception in the 1953. We had not only produced some of the most wonderful of plays but also sent them to far and wide of our belove
d country. Not only this institution has loved to welcome cultures from outside our city, we have also shown a beautiful and expressive face of our city to the rest of the world. Today, the Arts Council is the home to not only the World Urdu Conference, and Karachi Youth Festival, but also to the Music Festival, Special Children’s Cultural Festival, several book launches, numerous art exhibitions, and many other activities involving arts and culture that are recognized the world over. We have interacted and worked with cultural offices of not only our own government but also with the governments of many European, Asian, and American countries including Federal Republic of Germany, France, Great Britain, the USA, Belgium, the Netherlands, Japan, Turkey, the Peoples’ Republic of China, Republic of Korea, and Bangladesh.We have been active partners of various international organizations including the Unicef. We have now graduated to a level where youngsters from all over the city and outside come to study theater in our theater academy. We take special care of the talented ones if they cannot afford to pay fee of the academy. They deserve
to be encouraged and taught free of cost. Just like promoting singular plays, it is equally important to back those who are to become the backbone of our theater in future. This is our contribution towards a peaceful Karachi. Can anybody expect a city to be at peace with itself unless there is place that allows its cultured artistic expression to flourish? Karachi has recently limped to its inner peace only because its citizens can speak not only openly but also beautifully about their feelings. The language of this expression is arts, and the Arts Council of Pakistan has been the proud bastion of this whole discourse. The Karachi Theater Festival is part of this very endeavor: to promote peace, tolerance, and a sense of inclusion in our society. This festival is the first of its kind. Never before in our city has any organization collected so many maestros of theater from the fields of writing, direction, acting, and set design on one platform. Never before has anyone made sure that our audiences get the best of this city in this field. We are proud to have attempted it. Now, it is up to you people to decide how successful we have been. Not only that.The young and the vibrant of our city have also been encouraged to participate in this festival. The run-up also includes some of the best young writers, directors, and actors of our city. So here you have, the Karachi Theater Festival 2016. Mentioning this year is important, because it tells us that it is only the beginning of a long journey, and that we have many more such festivals that we commit to ourselves and to you. This is only the first.
Muhammad Ahmed Shah
Karachi Theater Festival 2016
Over the past few decades, Karachi, once called the city of lights and considered to be the hub of all cultural and recreational activities, has been increasingly highlighted in the news for terrorism, target killing, sectarian violence, gang war, unemployment and poverty, and drug related crimes. Lack of access to positive recreational, extracurricular activities for youth and adults had resulted in increasing levels of frustration within the youth, potentially encouraging violent behaviors and their tendency to join violent extremist groups as an alternative. In a city where people are craving for peace and harmony, theater allows the youngsters to talk about themes that take us away from violence, and which brings the city closer to a future where our next generations can live in peace. This festival is not just a recreation activity: this is an out and out effort to counter violent extremism and encourage peace and artistic expression in our society.