ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Towards People s Culture

Towards People's Culture JANA NATYA MANCH completes 20 years of work in street theatre in 1997-98, which is also its silver jubilee year. During this period, we have done ten proscenium plays and 6,500 performances of 47 street plays. Today, Janam is known as the premiere street theatre group in India. But it didn't begin like that. In 1970, some activists of the SFI in Delhi reactivated the defunct IPTA. They produced large proscenium plays and performed them in the open on makeshift stages for mass audiences. When differences arose within IPTA on the attitude towards the Congress(I), one section wanted to take IPTA closer to that party these youngsters broke away from IPTA and formed Janam in March 1973. The ideology and spirit of IPTA, however, lived on in Janam; similar work carried on, though with a more pronounced left- wing orientation. The Emergency imposed hibernation on the group. When Janam regrouped after the Emergency, we found that the workers' and peasants' organisations, which had earlier hosted our plays, now found it financially impossible to do so. We needed to produce plays that were inexpensive, flexible, mobile. This led us to street theatre. But street theatre, then, was virtually non-existent we could find no suitable script. We decided to write our own plays. Machine, our first street play, was first performed on October 15, 1978.

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