Theater has long been used to amuse and inform audiences while also providing an avenue for artists to share their thoughts and emotions through dramatic interpretation.
Zia-ul-Haq’s strict censorship laws and cancellation of state support for religiously offensive theater made theater suffer in Pakistan during the 1970s; however, new styles emerged that led to its revival.
For an exciting way to spend your afternoon, nothing beats going to a movie theater. Not only can you watch an entertaining film, but you can also meet new people and make connections – take your children along if possible! There’s sure to be something in there from psychological thrillers to masala flicks that’s sure to capture your fancy.
Pakistan’s movie industry boasts an extensive history, dating back to pre-partition times when movies were highly appreciated worldwide and local talent was recognized. Cinema houses such as Moti Mahal theatre were created during this time and still stand today – testament to this great film industry’s longstanding tradition in Pakistan.
Contemporary theaters are highly advanced with top-of-the-line sound and video technology, plus food options to enhance the experience. If you want the ultimate cinematic experience, Arena in Bahria Town and Cinegold Plex cinemas feature top-of-the-line audio/video technology which will elevate your movie viewing experience dramatically.
Rawalpindi offers many malls where you can watch a movie, such as Centaurus mall in Rawalpindi. Here you can find restaurants and shops, as well as movie theaters showing a wide range of Hollywood, Bollywood and Lollywood flicks for only Rs 600 ticket price – you can even purchase online or over the phone!
Atrium cinema in Karachi is another top choice, boasting three screens and being the city’s first 3D cinema. Families enjoy visiting here and the standard ticket costs Rs 600; however, you could save money with membership cards which give additional discounts such as free tickets or snacks.
When considering countries renowned for theater, England, Greece and Italy often come to mind first. But South Asia has made its own mark on theatre. With centuries-old histories in art and literature production as well as movie production in Pakistan there have been countless plays and movies produced in South Asia that showcase this tradition of artistic entertainment.
Children’s theater in Pakistan is experiencing a revival, particularly in Karachi and Islamabad/Rawalpindi twin cities. These venues give parents an easy way to provide their kids with fun nighttime activities without traveling too far – bowling, minigolf, children’s parties and movie screenings for them are just some of their offerings.
The Black Fish Theatre Group first made its debut in Karachi in 2002, and has since spread throughout multiple cities in Pakistan. Their most recent production, “The Night Diary”, takes place in an imagined version of Karachi and depicts a girl who finds her way out by meeting a magical creature who grants all of her wishes.
Zia-Ul-Haq and state withdrawal of support for theatre deemed religiously inappropriate caused many theatres to close down; however, new styles began emerging – one being commercial comedy, as seen in Umer Sharif’s plays Bakra Qiston Pe and Buddha Ghar Pe Hai which targeted lower and middle-class audiences respectively.
Badar recognizes the significance of theater for children as it helps foster their imaginations and equips them with skills necessary to navigate their world – perhaps even changing it! “Imagination is one of our greatest assets; theater provides an effective platform to tap it,” he notes.
Studies show that children who participate in drama gain more from participating. Their reading comprehension, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, school attendance rates, confidence in academic abilities as well as having fun are all improved dramatically – this is exactly why theatre for children should provide safe spaces where children can express themselves creatively!
Pakistan’s puppet theaters provide entertainment for children as well as adults alike, dating back centuries in this part of the world. Puppetry involves the unification of actor and spectator to make them feel immersed within the performance world, with props and lighting providing additional sensory enhancement.
String puppet theatre (putli) has always been an intimate family experience. Itinerant artists from Rajasthan, Punjab and areas bordering Gujarat often practiced string puppetry as families: father manipulated puppets while imitating their voices; mother played percussion (dholak) and sang; children or other family members served as manipulation assistants or sometimes extra singers while an older member (usually grandfather) served as the narrator.
Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Czech puppeteers helped revive puppetry during the 1960s with support from the Pakistan Arts Council, creating glove puppet performances at Lahore’s Alhambra theatre, starting off with European fairy tales before gradually adapting them for Urdu scripts that Faiz himself penned himself. Even today, rural audiences still pay cash to enjoy live puppet performances on television or the stage despite television’s dominance; urban audiences still pay cash admission.
Pakistan National Council of Arts has introduced theme-based puppet shows with messages. These shows aim to educate and create awareness among citizens while entertaining both children and adults alike. Each show highlights various social issues including family values, filial obligations and adhering to morality as well as healthcare, cleanliness and environmental concerns.
PNCA features a four-story museum building designed specifically for their collection, with puppets from 40 countries on permanent display. International festivals and tours abroad take place here regularly as well. Alongside puppet shows, there is also a library and research centre.
Rafi Peer Theatre Cultural Center of Lahore has welcomed Theater Lamp from Denmark for an upcoming children’s performance entitled, “The Mole and the House That Came and Left”. These nonverbal puppets tell a tale about one mole’s journey into new realities that contrast his own.
Pakistani theater culture is heavily rooted in folk genres that developed outside cities, particularly storytelling (dastoon-goh). Performers engage in storytelling by mixing various rhythms and styles of voice articulation while puppetry featuring rod, hand and string puppets has an immense following among festivals and traveling shows alike.
Theatre has seen a revival since the early 2000s, when nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and private groups sought connections with foreign theater companies. Pakistani universities also play an integral part in teaching traditional performance techniques.
These plays are highly theatrical, often combining verse, rhymed prose, music, song and choreographed dance into one cohesive narrative in the style of Agha Hashr Kashmiri’s (1879-1935) plays that combined folk tales, mythology and Western plot lines into highly stylized theatrical performances which can be found in Bollywood movies from India and Lollywood films from Lahore.
Lahore remains home to flourishing theater scenes that thrive in small venues like khaniyans and mahals that were converted from movie houses, where performers can improvise without scripts while outwitting each other with verbal punning and physical comedy. Many plays attract large audiences that can be reproduced for sale on cable television channels or video stores.
Musical theater enjoys widespread popularity in Pakistan. Influenced by Bollywood and Lollywood cinematic traditions, its combination of dialogue, music, song, and stylized dance has attracted an enthusiastic following among Pakistani women who appreciate an escape through stories that celebrate female independence.
Pakistan’s theater industry continues to face significant difficulties, yet numerous groups are working tirelessly to keep it thriving. While Taliban see theater and other cultural activities as threats, Rafi Peer continued his annual World Performing Arts Festival even after three bombs went off at Qaddafi Stadium.
Punjab Lok Rahs is an alternative theatre group established in 1986 to promote alternative theatre in the mother tongue of its people. They believe mother language plays a crucial role in identity formation and theatre is an effective medium for social change; their recent production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew was met with immense applause at London’s Globe theatre.