January 21, 2024
Pakistan’s premier theatre group, Ajoka, on Saturday launched its 40th anniversary programme at an event held at the Alhamra Art Centre, The Mall.
At the event, attended by representatives of various cultural organisations and Ajoka stalwarts, speakers paid glowing tributes to the four-decade-long contribution of Ajoka to promoting socially meaningful theatre in Pakistan. In their speeches, they especially mentioned Ajoka’s founder and theatre icon late Madeeha Gauhar for her dedication to serious theatre.
Speakers included Beenish Fatima Sahi, Director General of the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture (Pilac), former executive director of Alhamra, Zulfiqar Ali Zulfi, Ajoka actors Tahira Imam, Uzma Hasan, noted writer and artist Faryal Gauhar, Ajoka Institute Director Nirvaan Nadeem and Ajoka Secretary General Sohail Warraich. Punjab Information and Culture Secretary Daniyal Gilani was also present.
The video messages of theatre personalities, including director Neelam Mansingh Chaudhry and playwright/director Kewal Dhaliwal (India), Tehreek-i-Niswan founder and veteran classical dancer Sheema Kermani and actor Savera Nadeem were also screened on the occasion, besides a video report on four decades of Ajoka.
Two new songs were also presented at the launch event by Ajoka singing group, comprising Naseem Abbas, Usman Raj, Muhammad Qaiser, Kanwal Christopher and Aniqa Malik.
Ajoka Executive Director Shahid Nadeem announced plans for the group’s 40th anniversary year, which include a four-day theatre festival featuring representative Ajoka plays, to be held in April at Alhamra.
Similarly, a three-day Ajoka Theatre Festival will be held at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts and Islamabad Club in the federal capital in March, besides performances of Ajoka’s acclaimed play “Dara” in Karachi in June and October.
In this regard, an Ajoka Theatre Festival will also be held in Amritsar from July 1 to 7, where known Indian theatre artists will perform. Representatives of Ajoka Theatre will be honoured on the occasion.
Ajoka anniversary events will also be held in London, Glasgow and New York in July 2024.