Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ravindra Kalakshetra to get a facelift

Ravindra Kalakshetra to get a facelift
Deccan Herald

Your experience as the audience for a play, a concert or a dance, at the city’s Ravindra Kalakshetra will be a more memorable affair, a few months down the line. Thanks to Suvarna Karnataka year efforts, the more than four-decade-old auditorium is getting a facelift and the interiors will be renovated. Sound, lighting and seating are the buzz words in the plan, which will be updated.

The Department of Kannada and Culture is ready, with a concept report from a four-member committee of experts and is awaiting the report on estimates from the Department of Public Works. While there is no saying when the work will start, officials note that the plan is to complete it by March next. It is said that the last time this auditorium got a facelift was during the SAARC summit, in 1986, when it was a venue for some of the summit-related programmes. Ravindra Kalakshetra was built in 1963-64 on the occasion of the birth centenary year of Nobel lauret Rabindranath Tagore.

Being a very popular auditorium, it has been utilised continuously for cultural activities and of late there were also complaints about its maintainance. Hence the plan for renovation.

The Nayana Auditorium in Kannada Bhavan and Samsa Open Air Theatre located in the Ravindra Kalakshetra complex are also included in the facelift plan. The Samsa theatre, in particular, will see sound and lighting systems incorporated into its facilities.

It is noted that Ravindra Kalakshetra, with a seating capacity for 830 persons, is essentially an infrastructural asset in the State or the City’s cultural scape. The government has never looked at it as a revenue earner of the likes of, say, the Chowdiah Memorial Hall, say officials. The larger section of those who seek after Ravindra Kalakshetra are the local theatre groups - Kannada and non-Kannada segment. The renovation will in no way alter this focus, assure officials. Currently, the daily rental ranges from Rs 850 for Kannada theatre programmes to Rs 1,500 for non-Kannada theatre programmes. Classical music and folk arts programmes are also charged Rs 1,500. Orchestras and film song programmes are charged Rs 4,000. The rates have remained unchanged since the late 1980s.

The annual returns from these activities is about Rs 6 lakh. The maintenance and staff salary involved here are, meanwhile, in the range of Rs 15.91 lakh and Rs 17.08 lakh respectively.

The four-member experts committee that identified the required repairs and upgradation involved Chandrakumar Singh, an expert in sound and acoustics, Paresh Kumar, expert in lighting arrangements and Bangalore University professors A N Ramesh and Sudheendra Sharma.

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