Zee Live has also planned to take a Marathi play dubbed in Hindi to London in March. They also plan to move to UAE, Singapore and Australia
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | January 9, 2017
After Wicked Weekends, Zee Live, the live entertainment vertical of ZEEL, has announced the launch of its next property, Zee Theatre Tour, promising to showcase 50 shows of 12 plays in 15 cities in four months. The tour will kick start from Delhi on January 14 with the play ‘Internal Affairs’. Then, it will move to other cities from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Rajasthan.
After Internal Affairs, the Zee Theatre Tour will have the following plays in January -- Sir Sir Sarla, Chakravyuha, Chuhal, Jana Tha Roshanpura, White Lily ani Knight Riders. These and other shows feature Makrand Deshpande, Sunil Shanbag, Mahesh Dattani, Nitish Bhardwaj, Sonali Kulkarni and Milind Phatak among others.
Anuj Talukder, President, Zee Live, said, “Theatre is an important part of the entertainment ecosystem in India and abroad. Many of the theatre audiences are underserved even in India. Our attempt is to take the best of Indian theatre to different parts of the country -- Patiala, Surat, Baroda, and over a period of time, theatre will also go to Bangalore and Hyderabad.”
All the shows in the current calendar are primarily Hindi and a few in English. Later, the next editions of Zee Theatre Tour may include a lot of strong regional language plays too. Zee Live has also planned to showcase a play in London in March. It is a Marathi Play White Lily ani Knightrider, which is being dubbed in Hindi for the audience there.
While music has more mass appeal, theatre has its own loyal audience. Those who don’t watch theatre don’t even try it out easily. To this, Talukder, said, “We hope to change that. There are lot of people who have experienced theatre, have participated in early years of their lives. Lesser the availability, lesser are the chances for them to return. We first make these available to them. We are not really trying to reach the grey hair people, but also the youngsters.”
Talukder explained how the TG for theatre cannot be decided on the basis of age. “But these are people who are interested in entertainment and are ready to try new forms of entertainment. With wicked weekends, we were talking to a focused audience group. However, theatre appeals to a broad audience base since it comprises so many different genres and extremely different storylines.”
Speaking about the challenges, Talukder said, “Venues are a big constraint, though we have managed quite well to organise 50 performances in a short period of time.”
There are three general sizes of auditoriums -- 500-700 seater, 900-1300 seater and 200-300 seater. For the theatre groups, though 200-300 is the most intimate, it doesn’t pay for their costs of the day. He added, “So, people do it because it’s their passion. They fund the plays by alternative careers and that is the passion that we wish to support.”
Talukder said, “We will have our set of learnings soon. Some cities will love some genres more, some actors more, while some other cities might have other favourites. But the fact is that this has never been done in an organised manner before.”
The Zee Theatre Tour has been able to rope in both national and regional sponsors on board. The network is expecting to break even, but the aim is to build the whole space. “People who go for theatres are well educated, earning reasonably well, thinking people and discerning people. Theatres are a premium and intelligent form of entertainment, but it is still not charged premium.”
The plan is to move on to UAE, Singapore and Australia in Asia Pacific, after the UK. Other events lined up under Zee Live are various properties including a food project all of which will travel globally.