After seven months of closure due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) is set to reopen its theatre halls (National Theatre Hall, Experimental Theatre Hall and Studio Theatre Hall) from 23 October 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 Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation at the academy regarding reopening theatre venues, where the decision of reopening was finalized.
Presided over by BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky, the meeting was also joined by Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation's secretary-general Kamal Bayazid and other members of the federation.
Regarding the meeting, BSA director-general Liaquat Ali Lucky said, "Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy will reopen three of its venues on 23 October 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 of the cultural affairs ministry."
"Seeking permission to restart theatre activities for our beloved audiences and theatre oriented activists, we have pleaded with the cultural affairs ministry via a letter on 17 August and the state minister agreed to our request, we welcome the move and we want to thank 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 BSA, which we could not do there for the last seven months," Kamal Bayazid told UNB.
"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," he added.
The rehearsal rooms in BSA are also scheduled to open for the troupes to rehearse after 15 October, he further informed UNB.