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PUNE THEATRE INDUSTRY loses business worth 25 LAKH alone during lockdown One!

Updated: May 22, 2021




Theatre shows, Theatre tours, theatre collaborations, advance payments or planned shows, plays in progress, came to a jolting stop in Pune, in India, and all over the world with the lockdown ( respectively in each country .)



One emerging model that theatre companies like MA-YI Theatre in New York adopted was to turn into a production studio. In Pune, Theatre groups have adopted digital streaming, in various capacities: On Zoom, on google Meetup ( workshops ), Youtube Premiere, Young Theatre Directors Talks on Pune Theatre Guide, streaming platforms like www.ticketkhidakee.com, and a recently launched 9rasas.



The Editorial at www.rasaaurdrama.com spoke to seven Theatre groups and their net earnings and losses to business from March 2020 to the present in the Pune Theatre industry.



Artistic Director of Swatantra Theatre Abhijeet Swatantra is quite active in the Deccan region of the city with auditorium productions, street plays, site-specific theatre, and summer camp and winter camp for children. During the lockdown, they did a Youtube Premiere of their documented plays, devised performances on Youtube and Sayari, poetry, and more. Some of them were ticketed. He tells the editorial team at www.rasaaurdrama.com that he has not received any government support or heard of any for actors, writers, lights designers, and theatre workers of late. Swatantra Theatre Company is funding itself from its own potential activities like online children programs and savings. Business for Swatantra Theatre Company is dependent on shows and play production. If no shows, then what do you expect! Swatantra Theatre Company does business of 40,000 INR to 1 Lakh in normal times per month ( non-pandemic times ).



The Editorial at www.rasaaurdrama.com spoke to Kushal Khot, production manager at Wide Wings Media who also organizes festivals like Pune Nattyasattak, Maunaantar, OMT ( Online Mazha Theatre ), IAPAR founder of ticketing and streaming platform www.ticketkidakee.com. he is not able to recall if there was any support from the local government or any other body during both the lockdowns! Under Kushal's leadership and his production team at Wide Wings, Media executes all the big theatre festivals in the city in venues like BAL GANDHARVA RANGA MANDIR, Yashwantrao Chavan Natyagruha, and Bharat Natya Mandir!




Theatre director, musician, META-award winning and trainer Pradeep Vaiddya told www.rasaaurdrama.com that he doesn't recall receiving any support from the government or any-government allied body. Pradeep is the founder of a theatre training company Expression Lab ( closed now ) and now a new venture The Box.

He tells the editorial of www.rasaaurdrama.com that he has incurred business loss worth 12 Lakh due to his batches coming to a halt since 23rd March 2020. An Expression Lab batch was supposed to start on 23rd March 2020. Theatre Director audaciously and with precaution started a new theatre venue: The BOX. Theatre Director shares that the team the BOX lost 7 lakh due to rent and labor problems even before they began. In normal times Expression Lab had revenue of 75,000 to 1 Lakh per month. He adds, The BOX was able to generate a surplus during the six months they worked from Nov 2020 onwards till today. This income which would have supported the venue in 2021 has been spent on rent, electricity bills, and labor.


Varoon P. Anand artistic Director at Kaivalya Plays told the editorial of www.rasaaurdrama.com that:

they have applied to private arts foundations and international institutions for funding related to art projects. They have not received any grants. They say they do not know about any national emergency fund, so they have not applied for any. Kaivalya Plays has funded from sales from their classes and performances. The funding for their projects Luz Nera and Safety Research has all come from citizens ( not teams. ) Kaivalya Plays also add that they themselves raised 50,000 INR for various charities including Feed the Daily Wager, and KHALSA AID, during lockdown 1 and 2! They also add that they have self-funded a training programme for arts managers during lockdown 1 and lockdown 2.


Theatron Entertainment, a youth theatre company started by Virajas Kulkarni and Suraj Parasnis confirms they have not been reached by a government body or government-allied body. They say that a private venue The Box ( Theatre director Pradeep Vaiddya' s venue ) gave them concession on their theatre festival.


Pushkar Rangmanch founded by Sonal and Suraj says they have not received any support from any government body or private.

Fireweavers a weekend theatre group say that they have not received or applied for any grants by the government. They are sustaining by membership contribution.


Ashish Mehta, actor and production manager at AASAKTA KALAMANCH Theatre company and movement say that they did not seek any such support and they are not aware of any initiative by the government or the same. Also, they have not applied for any private grants.


Besides theatre companies in the city, there are independent artists in theatre and films who have been affected by the pandemic. Also, theatre workers who have been infected and subsequent loss of health and business. Elderly artists who have been affected by the virus. When the first lockdown came to an end and events started to roll with 50 percent capacity, the theatre was clubbed with a mention about cinema halls and events in auditoriums in statements by the government. There has not been any Emergency Fund created by the state government or the center towards the Entertainment Industry.


A glimpse at the Indian Media and Entertainment industry:


The Indian Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry is a sunrise sector for the economy and is making significant strides. India’s advertising revenue is projected to reach Rs. 672 billion (US$ 9.29 billion) in FY22. Subscription revenue in India is projected to reach Rs. 698 billion (US$ 9.65 billion) in FY22. The advertising-based video on demand (AVoD) segment is expected to rise at a CAGR of 24% to reach US$ 2.6 billion by 2025. Source: https://www.ibef.org/industry/media-entertainment-india.aspx




What we know for sure is that Indian Media and Entertainment is projected to grow significantly in spite of the pandemic. There has been a significant addition to digital subscriptions too. Building a strong audience for digital streaming of theatre and plays would work in the favor of the theater industry in local eco-systems in India.



For the moment the U.K. and the U.S.A have rolled out an EMERGENCY FUND for theatre ( U.K) and EMERGENCY FUND ( U.S.A.) for the entertainment industry as a whole. After a petition which was signed in October 2020, the parliamentarians, in the U.K has unveiled a £1.57 billion rescue package for Britain’s museums, galleries, and theatres amid the coronavirus crisis.

Theatre generates £1.28bn in ticket revenue in 2018 and played to a collective audience of 34 million people, according to the Creative Industries Council, a joint forum between the creative industries and government. The industry as a whole employs some 290,000 workers, 70 percent of which are estimated to have been put at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Arts Council England and other specialist bodies such as Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and the British Film Institute are among the bodies that will be assisting ministers.


The U.S. Congress approved $15 billion of grants to the arts and entertainment industry on Dec 23, 2020. www.Bloomberg.com says 97,000 workers work on te Broadway. Even surrounding restaurants and hotels lost billions of dollars due to entire streets being deserted. Traveling shows on the Broadway contributed $3.8 billion to other local economies, they were attended by 18.5 million in about 200 U.S. cities, says Broadway League, a national organization of theater owners and show producers. The grant

provided could reimburse venues for 45 percent of their losses or $10 Million whichever is less. The grant supports theatres, music clubs, movie-theatre and non-profit museums.


Indian theatre ecosystem is as vibrant, strong, and more diverse as these countries. With theatre eco-system supporting local culture, generating income for small local economies and also a strong training ground for actors who are looking to do films too. Theatre also protects local and national identity. There is an urgent need for the government to bail out the industry and prepare for the future health of the Indian Entertainment Industry as a whole.


( The breakup of business for 7 theatre groups editorial at www.rasaaurdrama.com interacted with are:

Swatantra Theatre: 40,000 * 7 months equals: 2,80,000

( On inputs received )

The Box: 19 Lakh


( On inputs received )

Theatron Entertainment: 10,000 * 7 equals: 70,000

( Bare minimum projected )

Puskar Ranmanch: 5000 * 7 equals: 35,000

( Bare minimum projected )

Fire Weavers: 10,000 * 7 equals : 70,000

( Bare minimum projected )

Aasakta: 15,000 * 7 equals : 1,05,000

( Bare minimum projected )

Wide Wings Media: 10,000 * 7 equals : 70,000

( Bare minimum projected )

(Total: 25, 30,000 )

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