Marathi Theatre has a long history and tradition. Especially because it is one of the very few real talent fields. However, due to the digital transformation, movies and web series have replaced most of the entertainment channels. In these times, very few people actually care to watch a live play, a drama, a skit, on a stage right in front of them.
Even though it is an elite category of entertainment, sadly, it does not get as much recognition or encouragement through ticket sales. So this was a challenge for us.
In our small town Parbhani, there's only one traditional theatre and it is rarely used these days due to the decline of the live-performances. We wanted to revive it even though we knew no one. Neither the theatre owner, nor the performers.
We started this mission because we genuinely believe that this tradition is worth saving and reviving for the future generations and for better talent!
So we started with research!
We started by hanging out with local artists, going to shows, and being part of the community. We wanted to understand what makes Marathi Theatre more than just a show— a cultural blast!
I had enjoyed many dramas when I was a child but as I grew up, I got distanced from the theatre. It was beautiful to get back to the roots, reminiscing those carefree days, and feeling nostalgic!
I took out my pen and notebook and started writing everything that felt important. I am writing this case study after 100 pages by the way! Let's breakdown the journey.
Values and Beliefs
After chatting with everyone, we found out what's super important: keeping old art alive, making everyone feel welcome, and giving a voice to new artists. These became the rules for our cool experiment.
We got in touch with the owner of the theatre, the caretakers, managers, and other staff. Then we started reaching out to drama schools, art schools, and artists, actors, entertainers, dancers, magicians, etc.
We created a long list of interested parties and studied their needs and took in what they know about the industry. Then we reached out to audiences, we, a team of 5 friends reached out to a total of 500 people and interviewed them 1-on-1. And we gathered a lot of important and useful information.
We identified that 80% people weren't even aware if and when dramas are held. That was because there is no proper marketing for it. Secondly, we also found out that most of these shows go underfunded or in losses due to low ticket sales.
Symbols and Pictures
We took things people love about Marathi Theatre, like cool instruments, stage stuff, and bright outfits, and turned them into our style. The logo, colors, and posters became a way to connect with everyone's eyes. We redesigned the whole set, the interiors, exteriors, logo, and posters.
Talking and Chatting Style
We were all Marathi speakers so you can call us marathi word experts. We made sure our messages felt welcoming and fun. Whether on social media or ads, it became more like having a friendly 1-on-1 friendly discussions than a formal talks. Our whatsapp content really went viral in the city as we created hundreds of new jokes about the lazy audiences who love screen more than live performances. Surprisingly, the risk was worth it! People loved our blunt and bold humor.
Pamphlets & Posters
Not only the hardcopy but also softcopy was circulated in large number throughout the city and the first revival show was a big hit!
Change and Growing
Knowing that things change for better, we made sure the theatre vibe changes to match the young & old both generations. We asked people what they think, kept discussing, and added new things to the theatre. Like newer colors, posters, banner, interiors, and more.
Rituals and Traditions
After promotions, we focused on Public Relations. To be part of the community, we revived some traditions with a special twist. Before shows, special events, during festivals, we added some unique rituals to make going to Marathi Theatre not just a show but a whole experience with traditional marathi roots. Natraj Pooja is part of the culture.
Worshipping the god of divine cosmic art of life and death. Beginning and end. So we decided to do it not only at the beginning but also end of every play. We involved the audiences by inviting elders and well-known personalities from the community on the stage to do the honors.
Experimental Plan: Making Marathi Theatre Extra Awesome:
Step 1: Marathi Theatre Hangout Spot
We wanted Marathi Theatre to be more than just a show. It became a cool place where tradition meets new stuff, and everyone's invited to the party.
Step 2: Living Art Show
Now, the theatre is not just for shows; it's like a live art gallery. Paintings, installations, and exhibits became part of the Marathi Theatre vibe.
Step 3: Everyone's a Star
We teamed up with artists from all over, not just Marathi ones. Our experiment was about mixing old and new ideas, making it a big, awesome blend.
Step 4: Fun Workshops for All
Beyond shows, we added fun workshops. From dance classes to making stories, everyone could join in and be part of the cool Marathi gang.
Step 5: Mixed-Up Culture Nights
We tried something fun called "Culture Mix Nights." It was like mixing Marathi stuff with cool things from everywhere. Everyone had a blast, and it helped everyone understand each other better.
Step 6: Online Hangouts
To reach more people, we went online. Live shows, digital art exhibits, and talking with people worldwide made Marathi Theatre a global hangout.
Our small town local theatre went from a generic show-place to a happening cultural center. By trying new things and mixing old with new, the theatre became not just a stage but a living, breathing part of fun. Where people not only watch performers but also join, practice, live-through their experience.
Here's to making cultural friends and unlocking the cultural magic in Marathi style! Love. Peace.