Mumbai: India’s leading entertainment ticketing platform, Paytm Insider is set to deliver theatre experiences digitally with its new initiative, ‘Front & Centre’. Created keeping in mind storytellers as well as theatre-lovers, this initiative aims to bring the experience of theatre alive, online.
‘Front & Centre’ is launching with a showcase of notable plays Every Brilliant Thing by QTP and Iti Ninna Amrita (Kannada) by Rangashankara Theatre in July, followed in August by One on One – Unlocked by Rage Productions, Timeloss produced by Akvarious Productions and Doppelganger by The Company Theatre. A key focus for Paytm Insider with this is bringing theatre productions in regional languages from across India in the spotlight. The plays currently featured are in Hindi, English and Kannada and more productions in other languages will continue to be added.
Paytm Insider CEO, Shreyas Srinivasan, adds “Over the last year, we’ve brought several exciting theatre productions forward including plays by Aadyam, Salim-Suleiman’s Umrao Jaan and storytelling works by Kommune. The launch of Front & Centre reaffirms our investment in strengthening the vibrant theatre ecosystem in India.”
‘Front & Centre’ has conducted its first workshops with sessions on Audio Drama with Frederick Greenhalgh, Scriptwriting with Carl Miller, and Comedy writing with Anuvab Pal. With these workshops, Paytm Insider aims to provide a lens into the art of theatre for those already in the field, and even for those stepping into it. Paytm Insider is supported on this initiative by Shernaz Patel and Nadir Khan, using decades of their experience to re-imagine theatre for the digital world.
Speaking on the IP, Creative consultant, Front & Centre, Nadir Khan, said, “Lockdowns and social-distancing provide much disturbance to a form that is meant to be consumed live and is essentially a dialogue between a performer and a live audience. At its very core, however, theatre is about story-telling. Stories that need to be told and need to be heard. Stories that excite, entertain, provoke, educate, and inspire. With Front & Centre, we’re hoping to provide a home for theatre practitioners to continue doing just that, albeit online for now. It’s a new medium, really, and the challenges that come with that are both exciting and daunting. I’m very happy, therefore, that Paytm Insider has decided to dive head-first into it with Front & Centre and has allowed me to be a part of that journey. I’m certain that this will help Indian theatre to continue to work, grow, collaborate, innovate, stay relevant, engage and (most of all) continue that dialogue between the performer and audience.”
Speaking on the IP, Creative consultant, Front & Centre, Shernaz Patel – “If I had been told three months ago that the internet would be my new stage and the sofa my new auditorium I would have laughed disbelievingly. I am a purist. I thrive on the live and immediate thrill of theatre and shy away from technology. And yet like it or not here we are. I could have hibernated. But Insider’s Front & Centre came along at the right time and made me embrace this new normal. Because it’s a platform that understands that theatre is vital. That theatre is where compelling stories get told. That theatre has a unique place in our collective culture to educate, inspire and entertain.”
Speaking on the launch, Varun Khare – Business Head, Live entertainment (IPs & Partnerships) at Paytm Insider, said, “As large gatherings to watch theatre productions remain a thing of the distant future and live performing arts are adopting a new alternative of moving online. We’re working hard to create a sustainable ecosystem for artists, producers, promoters & all those behind the scenes to come together to continue entertaining fans across the country. We strive to make it a great alternative medium to entertain fans. With Front & Centre, we hope to (re)connect fans with the power of theatre and storytelling.”