Primarily, the halls will remain open only on Fridays and Saturdays
After seven months of closure due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) is set to reopen its theatre halls -- National Theatre Hall, Experimental Theatre Hall and Studio Theatre Hall -- from October 23, with one-third seating capacity and following a set of health directives.
To compensate for the huge financial loss that the theatre industry is facing due to the pandemic shutdown, BSA also decided that it will make the venues available to theatre troupes free of cost.
Primarily, the halls will remain open only on Fridays and Saturdays.
A meeting was recently held between Shilpakala Academy and Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation (BGTF) regarding reopening the theatre venues, where the decision of reopening was finalized.
Presided over by BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky, the meeting was also joined by BGTF's Secretary-General Kamal Bayazid and other members of the federation.
Regarding the meeting, Liaquat said: "Shilpakala Academy will reopen three of its venues on October 23 and welcome the theatre enthusiasts again, finally after a long time.
"We are going to issue health guidelines for the theatre troupes who will perform shows in front of one-third of a venue’s capacity, and we would be rearranging the seating capacity following that procedure. Our venues would be free of costs, as per the directives came the Ministry of Cultural Affairs."
"Seeking permission to restart theatre activities for our beloved audiences and theatre oriented activists, we pleaded with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs via a letter on August 17 and the state minister agreed to our request," Kamal told UNB.
"We welcome the move and we want to thank State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid for the permission and also for allowing theatre troupes use the venues free of costs. We are really happy that theatre troupes will be able to stage shows again at Shilpakala Academy, which we could not do there for the last seven months," he said.
Kamal added: "We want to thank all the authorities concerned to make this comeback possible. To show our gratitude for all the frontliners [doctors, police, journalists and more] of our country during this global pandemic who has been relentlessly serving the nation in this ongoing crisis, we will invite them in a future drama festival after the reopening."
The rehearsal rooms in Shilpakala Academy are also scheduled to open for the troops to rehearse after October 15, he further informed UNB.