A fund for theatre sans a burden to Government | Sunday Observer

A fund for theatre sans a burden to Government

3 January, 2021

Of all the arts in Sri Lanka, theatre is the most uncared, neglected, considered not necessary for the development of societal values, and most importantly the sense of reflection of the embedding of humanity or compassion among the populace which seem to be fast disappearing from the minds of the present-day society. It’s very saddening, regrettable and most unfortunate. This is because dramatists are a class of defeatists and of depression. They are unable to proceed fully committed to theatre arts. Reason is lack of finances.

Now of course they are totally kept out of it due to the Covid-19 pandemic of which they do not know when there will be an escape from its subjection. The difficult and poor practitioners of it and the other partners of it as playwrights, actors, actresses, stage hands, make-up artists and the whole gamut of personnel in it have become pauperised with no means for survival.

To solve this problem, and to come out of this dilemma, I have a solution if the Prime Minister as the Finance Minister and Minister of Culture, can approve and give consent to introduce and functionalise a Lottery titled Natya Setha in the Lotteries Board to create a “Theatre Fund” from which all the artistes involved can be supported by a grant system with no hindrance for their survival.

In the future, this Theatre Fund can begin a separate Winged Department of the Ministry of Culture and can manage and support the propagation of theatre promoting “Theatre Artistes’’, as referred to above a professional group. If such a scheme is introduced through the Lotteries Board, it would be sans a burden to the Government. I vouch the people too would support such a Lottery since they know whom the funds would be allocated to. The buyers of the lottery tickets spend only 20 rupees. The Government would have its profitable share and the tax benefit too.

Theatre is the strongest discipline and convincingly tameable of the art forms of the people. It’s indirectly a strong persuasive religion. It’s not a customary religion. All over the world, theatre is the tool where most of the humans are tamed and disciplined and make them societally responsible human beings through the process of understanding and comprehension. It’s not a media for someone to believe by tradition or by custom. But theatre is a mechanism that convinces what humanism is.

By viewing meaningful heart-breaking serious theatre, audiences become moved, with emotionally dribbling tears. So is when they see good comedies. They break into sudden giggling laughs self-wise. With all these, they feel self-wise thinking reasonably adjusting to be human beings. Theatre is a collective art, and most importantly and fundamentally, it is religious, for it moulds and guides the character of humans imbuing through understanding and perception.

Theatre wants encouragement and the availability of finance and freedom. There is a large number of graduates passed out from all the universities of the country and particularly from the Aesthetic University. Besides theatre and drama, it is also a curricular subject in all the Educational Institutions in the country.

Theatre can be converted into a decent source of income also for the annual budgets too if it is encouraged by the Government to prosper while providing a good employer scheme as well.

This has to be well designed like any other business. In this respect, a theatre fund can certainly be established as I requested and proposed at the outset.