Bangladesh Gram Theatre has been playing a crucial role to spread folk culture across the country since 1982, said discussants at a programme on Friday.
They also said that folk culture could play a role in reminding people of their cultural roots and raising awareness of different issues. They urged senior and young cultural activists to work together to build a harmonious society in the country and resist communal forces.
They made the remarks at the inaugural ceremony of the two-day Ninth National Conference of Bangladesh Gram Theatre under way at the National Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
Bangladesh Gram Theatre also marked its 40th founding anniversary and the 74th birth anniversary of eminent playwright Selim Al Deen at the programme.
Independence Award-winning artist and freedom fighter Shahabuddin Ahmed was present as chief guest and inaugurated the 2-day event, which has been jointly organised by Bangladesh Gram Theatre and Dhaka Theatre.
Sammilita Sangskritik Jote president Ghulam Quddus, its general secretary Ahkam Ullah and actor Afzal Hossain were present as special guests and Bangladesh Gram Theatre general secretary Taufiq Hasan Moyna delivered the welcome speech at the programme, which was presided over by Bangladesh Gram Theatre president Nasiruddin Yousuff.
‘Bangladesh Gram Theatre has completed its 40-year journey. Theatre has been playing an important role in raising awareness among people from all walks of life in independent Bangladesh. Paintings and films also have the essence of theatre. A painting without the essence of theatre has no value,’ said Shahabuddin Ahmed.
‘Villages of today have been influenced by the urban lifestyle. Unfortunately, not many jatra shows are held nowadays,’ added Shahabuddin Ahmed.
Ghulam Quddus said, ‘Bangladesh is an agricultural country. Our life and culture revolve around agriculture but we are about to forget our folk culture due to the invasion of urban culture. We are grateful to Bangladesh Gram Theatre because it is playing a leading role in preserving and spreading folk culture.’
Ahkam Ullah urged cultural activists to work together to resist communal forces.
‘I urge the senior and young cultural activists to work together to resist communal forces and build a harmonious society in the country,’ said Ahkam Ullah.
The organisers honoured actor Pijush Bandyopadhyay and theatre director Syed Jamil Ahmed with Selim Al Deen Padak for the years 2021 and 2023 respectively.
‘Selim Al Deen was instrumental in organising Bangladesh Gram Theatre. Those who received the Selim Al Deen Padak had made significant contributions to the country’s theatre sector. We are grateful to them,’ said Nasiruddin Yousuff.
Following the inaugural ceremony, the first session of the council of the Ninth National Conference of Bangladesh Gram Theatre was held at the venue. Representatives from around 300 units of the organisation from across the country are participating in the council.
The opening day of the event also featured traditional performances, namely Hoyla Gan by Barguna Theatre; Santal dance recital by Juba Baha from Tanore, Rajshahi; Behular Bhashan by Bijoy Theatre from Sariakandi, Bogura; and Mohua by Panchbibi Theatre from Joypurhat.
The second and third sessions of the council will be held at the same venue today.
The closing day of the event will also feature tradition performances, namely Gombhira, Bhawaiya, Dhamayel, songs of Lalon and others.