KARACHI: Quality theatre plays a vital role in inculcating positive values and tolerance in the society and to build healthy society performing arts should be appreciated all across the board.
The remarks were expressed by panelists, including veteran actor Sania Saeed, Film Superstar’s director Mohammad Ehteshamuddin, Abdullah Farhatullah and senior entertainment journalist Omair Alavi, in an interactive dialogue session on ‘Role of theatre in countering extremist narratives’ at the Media Baithak.
Saeed said that as human interaction can’t be replaced so does theatre. “If you can’t replace hug, you can’t replace theatre,” the actor noted and added that she is very proud to say that she engaged the community with her performances in street and community theatres.
“I connected with the audience – with those who were initially reluctant to join us but later the same group started their own theatre groups,” she observed.
Saeed stated that theatre is a powerful medium for education, adding that an artist can educate people through entertainment. “But it’s just as an artist one has to decide either to use entertainment with the idea of giving it under ‘whatever sells’ or with responsibility,” she added. She said that the experience provided by the theatre has no parallel.
The senior actor appreciated the young artists joining the fraternity and expressed her pleasure over their command on technical dimensions of the play, she remarked that the synergy, tolerance and discipline within theatre is important.
Actor Abdullah Farhatullah said that a good artist is one who brings a positive change in the society by giving performances in line of his original thought without giving a consideration about the reaction of the people, adding that the young artists before joining the industry should question themselves why do they want to join it. He urged the fellow artists to do more theatres in order to give back to the medium which supported them in their starter phase.
Superstar Director Ehtesham said that he has witnessed many of the cultural and societal conflicts getting resolved through theatres as the people starts questioning themselves after the performances and join heads to resolve the conflicts.
The Media Baithak serves as a community space for cultural engagement of media and civil society representatives. It gives platform to distinguished voices from the fields of journalism, politics, academia and other fields to discuss contemporary issues of the society.
The organization has previously conducted sessions on youth the role of poetry in combating violent extremism, women empowerment, the role of qawwali in promoting positive values, journalists’ training on social media and the role of media in spreading peace and harmony in the society.