Pune, January 11, 2024: Expanding the space of experimental theatre while giving it new dimensions, the Shreeram Lagoo Ranga – Avakash project in the city has now been completed. Being set up by Maharashtra Cultural Centre and the Lagoo family, the Shreeram Lagoo Ranga – Avakash is located on the first floor of the Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruha Building at Hirabaug Chowk, Tilak Road, Pune. The formal inauguration of this project will take place on Thursday, January 18 at 4 pm by veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah. The official information regarding the same was given by Dr Mohan Agashe; President of Maharashtra Cultural Centre in a press conference held today. Rajesh Deshmukh; Secretary and Shubhangi Damle; Treasurer of the Maharashtra Cultural Centre, the project’s architect Madhav Hundekar and Aarti Moravekar were also present on the occasion.
“I have performed a lot of plays in different parts of the world. I believe that the top-end facilities, comfortable seating and various options to theatre arrangements are exceptional here. I can certainly say that I am extremely happy to see this space while having performed various plays across the world. I remembered the ‘Ghashiram Kotwal’ play we performed in Holland after being in this Ranga – Avakash. Such sort of a space being built in Pune is a moment of absolute pride and sheer joy for me. I also believe that this space will play a significant role in giving non-formal education through experimental theatres,” expressed Dr Mohan Agashe.
Speaking about the Shreeram Lagoo Ranga – Avakash, Rajesh Deshmukh said, “Times are changing, and so is the world. The definition of plays, experimental theatres, and everything else is also changing. As this change is happening, the directors and artists are trying to get intimate with their audiences while presenting their subjects. In the meantime, we realized that an artist not only needs a stage but also a space. With this kind of background, Maharashtra Cultural Centre and the Lagoo Family have created the ‘Shreeram Lagoo Ranga – Avakash’ based on the concept of a black box theater. This project will facilitate new dimensions of creativity in an experimental theatre by providing various options to theatre arrangements, while also allowing the organizers the opportunity to decide where the audience would sit and where the artists would perform.
Here, state-of-the-art facilities will be made available to the artists and directors. The possibility to design four different types of theatre arrangements such as ‘proscenium theatre,’ ‘sandwich theatre,’ ‘thrust seating’ and ‘four-side arena seating’ will be made available here. Around 140 to 200 enthusiasts at a time can take pleasure in plays, workshops, cultural and art events. Primarily, facilities like designing and molding the theatre as desired for the plays, suitable height for the same, light system with special light grids, sound system considering the acoustics, etc. are included here. Deshmukh also highlighted that there will be enough parking facilities in this Ranga – Avakash being constructed right in the central part of the city.
Speaking about the official inauguration of the Shreeram Lagoo Ranga – Avakash, Shubhangi Damle said, “The project will be inaugurated at the hands of veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah on January 18, 2024 at 4 pm. This program would be for invitees only and later the Shreeram Lagoo Ranga – Avakash will be open for play rehearsals, other programs and citizens. Damle also expressed her belief in the project being a change in the dynamics of experimental theatre in India.
While giving technical details of the project, Madhav Hundekar said, “The Shreeram Lagoo Ranga – Avakash is based on the concept of a black box theatre which breaks the customary limitations of a traditional theatre. Because the freedom of stage design is provided in this space, the freedom of light and sound systems tags along naturally to it. There were many challenges while designing the stage and setting up light and sound. But we have made sincere efforts to give the best audio-visual experience to the connoisseurs through a director’s perspective. The specialty here is that we have developed indigenous solutions and have designed this space accordingly. Materials have been carefully picked for the sound system and care has been taken to ensure that there is no disturbance from the traffic or even the sound of the AC. Well-equipped green rooms and other required facilities for the artists which are generally missing in an experimental theatre, are being provided here. The theatre expands in an 25 by 13 meter space and all necessary arrangements have been made in case of a catastrophic situation with regards to the security of the audience.”
“A special gallery will be set up in the lobby outside the entrance of this Ranga – Avakash in the loving memory of Dr. Shreeram Lagoo. This gallery will include the awards he received, a list of more than 100 plays he performed, information about Dr. Lagoo through the audio-visual medium. In the nearest future photographs of some important events of his life will also be showcased.
About Maharashtra Cultural Centre –
Established in 1965, the Maharashtra Cultural Centre stands as a paramount institution shaping the cultural outlook of Pune and Maharashtra. The centre is renowned for its pivotal contributions and exceptional programs across art forms like theatre, dance, music and visual arts. Apart from focusing only on production, the centre has always strived to provide support and space for the artists, while being dedicated to making available a rightful platform for the art of many directors and artists. To further promote arts, experimental theatres namely Sudarshan Rangmanch and Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruha have also been set up by the centre. Besides organizing various art workshops and seminars, Sudarshan Rangmanch, Sudarshan Art Gallery and Jyotsna Bhole Sabhagruha have played an important role in being the nurturing grounds for budding artists in Pune.