When the curtains rise, a hush descends as the audience eagerly anticipates what ‘The Narrators’ have in store for them. This performing arts society, based in the vibrant city of Chandigarh, has been enchanting the audience with its captivating and experimental performances since its inception in 2018. Nisha Luthra, founder and curator of The Narrators, started this journey along with a group of passionate individuals who shared their love for theatre, music, and dance.
As a curator and an artist herself, she believes that art should serve a purpose in society. The Narrators is not just about entertainment, it is committed to creating social impact through their performances. It regularly holdsfund-raising events for charity and have even held theatre workshops addressing mental health issues, shedding light on a topic that is often stigmatized. She uses the Physical Theatre significantly to mend the mental health of stressed professionals –students, writers, teachers, doctors.
Be it her poetry, her writings like Noor-e-Babur or on the play of life struggles of film actress Meena Kumari, she delivers the message and leaves it to the audience as food for thought.
What sets The Narrators apart from other performing arts societies is its focus on experimental theatre. It explores unconventional themes and pushes the boundaries of traditional theatre. The performances of artistes are thought-provoking, immersive, and highly engaging.
What makes The Narrators truly special is its unique approach to art. Not afraid to experiment and explore unconventional themes, the artistes make each performance a distinctive experience for the audience. Nisha shares more about The Narrators and her journey with CityWoofer.
How did The Narrators come about?
When I was growing up, I harboured a deep-seated desire to express myself as an artist. However, it wasn’t until my eldest daughter, who is highly involved in theatre, encouraged me to wholeheartedly pursue my passion that I finally found the courage to take the leap. I began by offering my services to local theatre groups and assisting them in any way I could.
I found my mentor in acclaimed Punjabi playwright Dr Atamjit who recognized my unwavering passion and dedication. Together, we embarked on a meticulous research journey to write a play, and I had the privilege of performing in his first English play as the famous Irish playwright who was associated with Punjabi theatre, Norah Richards. She had always been an inspiration to me. When the lights were on me, I thought I was meditating, I felt connected to God. The play was an enormous success and opened the doors to a whole new world of possibilities for me. Since then, I have never looked back and continue to pursue my artistic aspirations with a renewed sense of purpose and joy.
The Narrators are committed to social causes. Could you tell us more about it?
Another play that played a pivotal role in shaping my theatrical journey and transforming my outlook towards this art form was ‘Drama Queen’ directed by the esteemed theatre director Sahib Singh.
The profound impact it had on me was the realization of how crucial theatre can be for promoting mental health and wellbeing. This realization inspired me to integrate this concept into the work of The Narrators.
As a result, we began conducting workshops on mental health and received an overwhelmingly positive response. It was heartening to see the power of theatre being used as a tool to promote mental wellness.
What are the various other fields you work in?
The notion of launching books through performance art germinated during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many writers were struggling to get their work published. Our first book launch was accomplished through the creation of a poetry film. We believe that by bringing together various artistic disciplines, we can create a more engaging and dynamic experience for our audience. Our team remains committed to exploring innovative ways to showcase literature and art in new and exciting ways.
The Narrators has two more avenues named Kala Kshetra and Kitaab Club which work pan-India to connect with likeminded communities. We are on a hunt for raw and rustic artists to perform and share their unique artistic journeys with us.
(Shweta Yadav is an independent writer and researcher passionate about uncovering untold narratives)