New Delhi: The Bharat Rang Mahotsav - the National School of Drama's annual theatre festival - will begin here Feb 1 with the theme ‘Breaking Borders’.
Besides Indian theatre groups, theatre artists from 12 countries will participate in the 18-day event that will conclude Feb 18.
Sixty-nine plays will be performed on seven different stages, making for 150 performances that theatre aficionados can treat themselves to.
National School of Drama director Waman Kendre said the festival's theme was not touching about the contentious border issues, but was working at a broader framework of creating flexibility in our state of performing arts.
"These divides have to break for the theatre to flourish at the performing stage," he said Wednesday.
Union Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma will inaugurate the festival which will open with Kendre's ‘Ghazab Teri Adaa’ at the Kamani Auditorium. Eminent stage actor Om Puri will be present as the chief guest.
Plays from countries like Switzerland, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Norway, Germany and Bangladesh will also be staged during the festival.
Also, for the very first time, the festival will be travelling to four Indian cities - Agartala, Jabalpur, Aurangabad and Panaji - during these days. Five plays each will be staged in every city.
"This is another barrier we are breaking with this initiative. The audience there would be able to witness the best of theatre," said Kendre.
The festival will also pay tribute to theatre luminaries like Shambhu Mitra, Begum Akhtar and Veenapani Chawala.
Kendre's one of the favourite project ‘Living Legend Series’ will also be inaugurated at the festival, where Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj, eminent photographer Raghu Rai and writer Krishna Sobti will interact with the audience.
"We plan to make this session a monthly affair where people from all walks of life will come and talk about their journey," said Kendre.
For the first time institutions like - Lalit Kala Akademi, Sahitya Akademi, Sangeet Natak Akademi and other cultural bodies - are associated with the event.
In another attempt to be in tune with times, the tickets for the festival will be available online and would be released in a three-phase manner for the convenience of the audience. Tickets are priced between Rs.50 to Rs.200.