The company hopes to elevate online theatre skills among enthusiasts
The pandemic has been a bane for live theatre.
2020’s inevitable shift to virtual media for survival and to satiate the need to stay in touch with the art form, is steadily evolving to cater to a WFH-weary audience. Actors, directors, and writers are upping their skills to appeal to an on-screen audience.
Joining Chennai’s theatre fraternity, is RumourMill Theatre Company, which used the absence of live theatre to their advantage, and launched online.
When Zubin Vincent returned to Chennai after graduating from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland last year, he did not anticipate this dramatic shift. “Ever since the pandemic hit, we have been doing a lot of Zoom theatre. With everything moving online, the overall costs of theatre came down. It made the art form more accessible to everyone, including theatre makers,” says Zubin, founder and artistic director of the venture. A drive to take theatre to more people, and the restrictions that came with the pandemic pushed Zubin and managing director Belinda Peter to launch this online platform.
“In online theatre, there is a tendency to just read the play [to the screen]. This is the right opportunity to elevate online theatre,” says Belinda.
For now, the focus will be on virtual theatre, and there are no restrictions, genre-wise. “We started off with a monologue workshop last week, where participants were asked to come prepared,” says Zubin. The response to the workshop was surprising, adds Belinda, since all spots were closed within a couple of days.
This made them realise that both enthusiasts and beginners are looking for activity within the theatre space. “We are planning to do a writer’s workshop as well for those who want to be part of theatre, but not on stage,” says Zubin. The times also call for a focus on ‘short form’ (in both writing and otherwise), since operations are done online. For their performance première around Valentine’s Day, the duo plans to devise three plays revolving around the different aspects of ‘love’, for which auditions for scripts and actors will be held.
Ultimately, the mission is to create a community of different kinds of theatre lovers. “We want to widen the circle in the city. There are excellent circles that produce their own theatre in Chennai but these don’t intersect. We want to find a place where it can be a Venn diagram,” says Belinda. And to that effect, RumourMill is actively looking for collaborators.
The second edition of the monologue workshop is on November 28. Those interested can write to [email protected]
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