Weekend garage plays

Weekend garage plays

Art galleries, book stores and even restaurants these days are opening their doors to cultural events. In a city like Hyderabad, where the toughest...

A garage during the week transforms into a stage for art and drama on weekends

Art galleries, book stores and even restaurants these days are opening their doors to cultural events. In a city like Hyderabad, where the toughest challenge to put up any show is to find a place, one can never have too many places pitching in. Venues are the biggest and most critical challenge anybody faces when they plan to put up a stage show of any kind. Either the venues are too small or too expensive or too far. There is always a compromise to be made somewhere.

Now picture this. A car service centre littered with tools, latest machinery and greased men where you walk into to get your car all fixed up during the week and then you find yourself walking into the same place over the weekend to enjoy a nice play or a concert. As bizarre as it may sound it is an actual place

in Hyderabad which recently opened up its doors to people wanting to buy cars and people wanting to enjoy a quality evening of performing arts.

Sangha, a unique initiative undertaken by the Volvo showroom at Hafeezpet, makes the most of

the huge space that the car dealership has for its service centre. The garage morphs itself into a cultural space over the weekends where one might find himself sitting and enjoying a play or a standup comedy act or even a musical concert. Sangha was conceptualised while keeping in mind the dearth of big spaces in heart of the cities which any auditorium requires. A car servicing garage needs a huge space to be set up, which if you think about, is just lying there unutilised over the weekend.

Saket Talwar, the person who thought of this unique idea, draws his inspiration from the Volvo showroom he visited in Singapore last year. “I saw an art exhibition which encouraged new artists being put up in the service centre there over the weekend. When I saw the dearth of venues in my city, I thought, why just stop at being an art gallery, why not open up to performing arts as well?”

That is exactly what Sangha did last week with its opening night. The play, ‘A Distant Plateau’, which was directed by Taher Ali Baig and was staged at Lamkaan to a record breaking audience last month, was invited to perform. Not only that, post the play, a three member local band also treated the audience to the covers of some hit singles. As it was the opening night, it was hosted by Saket Talwar himself where the audience could enjoy an open bar, some lovely food and of course the wonderful play and the music.

“We plan to give the space out only once or twice a month,” says Saket. He further adds, “Anybody can approach us with a proposal, and we will evaluate it. If it helps the art form in any way, we will give them the space for free. All they have to spend on is their set up cost.”

Even the auto maker Volvo has taken notice of this initiative and cannot stop showing it off to the world. It pitches all its dealers to do something like this in all the national and international conferences.

It is initiatives like these that push the boundaries of thinking creatively. They prove that you do not have to be an artist of any sort to be creative. You can be a person who owns a car dealership and still kick the ball out of the park when it gets down to coming up with creative ways to use a huge piece of real estate.

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