Lahore (Qasim Ali) The South Asian Center of Britain’s prestigious institute London School of Economics arranged a tribute program to honor the extra ordinary services of Pakistan’s iconic theatre activist Madeeha Gauhar with the title ‘’ Protest of Drama, remembering Madeeha Gauhar ”.
The evening was arranged is in collaboration with the International Growth Centre and was chaired by Mukulika Banerjee. Prominent British director from Round theatre London Elizabeth Lynch, Indian Scholar Sanjoy Roy and Adnan Khan were main speakers, who all spoke about space which Ajoka created for theatrical public protest against various forms of oppression.
Ajoka’s executive director Shahid Mahmood Nadeem participated in discussion via skype and shared the personal references about Madeeha’s determination and immense love for the medium of theatre. Sanjay Roy spoke about the Madeeha’s joint ventures with Indian theatre groups and said Madeeha firmly believed in cultural exchange and served as a bridge between Pakistan and Indian theatre community.
In the evening speakers also discussed the long lasting impact and social relevance of Madeeha’s path-breaking work through conversations with those who worked with her in Pakistan, India and United Kingdom. The discussion ended with a Question Answer session in which speakers highlighted the Madeeha’s creative approach, and her believe in the power of theatre to transform the society.
On the Other Hand, Progressive Writers Association (PWA) presented excellent tribute to Ajoka’s founding director Madeeha Gauhar (late) in its weekly session held at historic Pak Tea House Lahore on Saturday’s evening. Veteran artist Nadeem Tahir presided the session whereas Shahid Nadeem, veteran broadcaster Yasmeen Tahir, Human rights activist and well known actress faryal Gauhar and Tanveer Jahan were chief guest of the special evening.
Javed Aftab, secretary progressive writers association hosted the evening which was also attended by prolific writers, theatre and human rights activists including Raza Rumi, Nirvaan Nadeem, Sohail Worraich etc. All the speakers paid glowing tributes to Madeeha’s progressive mindset, immense passion and commitment towards socially relevant & meaningful theatre.
Raza Rumi shared that all her life, Madeeha was truly an icon of theater and Human right movements in the Pakistan. She raised the voice of oppressed segments of society through her out standing plays and used theater as a medium of social awareness. Naeem tahir highlighted the theatre scenario of 1980s before Ajoka’s inception and the impact which Ajoka made on Pakistan’s theatre landscape through its brilliant productions.
Moreover Ajoka theatre’s 5-day summer training workshop entitled “Acting MasterClass” concluded after spectacular display of improvised productions based on historical plays including “Dara” and “Kaun hai Yeh Gustakh” here at Ajoka’s sarwer road office. Divided in groups, the participants of workshop presented the various powerful scenes convincingly from both the plays.
Special guest at the concluding ceremony was Ajoka’s Chairperson Zara Salman, who along with Shahid Mehmood Nadeem and trainer Nirvaan Nadeem analyzed the performances and distributed certificates among the participants. Judges also gave valuable tips while sharing their experiences with the aspiring actors.
Actor trainer Nirvaan Nadeem, who designed and conducted the workshop, said he was very happy with the response of the participants who learnt a lot in a short span of time. He said that the mere passion for acting is not enough; commitment and discipline have equal importance in order to become an excellent performer. During the workshop eminent actress Swera Nadeem and Faryal Gauhar also conducted exclusive sessions and shared their experience of acting for theatre and television with the participants. The participants in their feedback expressed their satisfaction at what they had been able to achieve in five days and appreciated the role played by trainer Nirvaan Nadeem and the opportunity provided by Ajoka theatre.