Ranga Shankara’s Theatre & Arts Appreciation Course 2008
31 Oct to 2 Nov AND 7 Nov to 9 Nov
Anchored by Sadanand Menon
Anchor’s Note

Interrogating The Arts

The idea of this year’s programme is not so much ‘art appreciation’ as an ‘interrogation of the arts’.

How does the universe of the arts intersect our lives? How do we comprehend its special energy?

From being a plaything of the elites or of market forces, does it constitute an autonomous agency, whose insights can transform our lives?

Is it possible to conceptualise art and life as undifferentiated so that life itself becomes an extended artistic assertion?

How do artists conceptualise their work and what are the inspirations that inform their creative productions?

What is the special place that the arts and artists occupy in our consiousness and our awareness of life and society?

It is important to see the contiguity of diverse artistic expressions to understand the synergy and flow of a common force between distinct expressive media in the arts.

Keeping in mind the overall theme of the Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival of ‘Company Theatre’, the ‘art appreciation’ package has been put together with the idea of getting an insight into how a certain kind of theatrical expression in the early twentieth century helped lay the foundations for the Bombay/ Bollywood cinema and a certain ‘tradition’ of musical concert format, and the construction of a distinct ‘popular’ visual lexicon.

Beyond that, it will have intimate moments when artists and analysts share their formation and their insight with the participants.

Most resource persons/presenters have been requested to trace a personal journey to facilitate the possibility of the participants entering their life and practice in a creative way and getting an exposure to concepts in arts and art history without tears.

The six days will include, besides seeing three plays, a chance to get face-to-face with a range of distinguished personalities, as the schedule of the programme will make self-evident.

Here’s hoping the participants will bring as much to the six days as they will take from it.

Sadanand Menon

Anchor Profile

Sadanand Menon is a nationally reputed ‘arts editor’, popular teacher of ‘cultural journalism’, widely published photographer, arts curator and prolific writer and speaker at seminars on politics, ecology and the arts.

He is currently Adjunct Faculty at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, where he conducts courses on ‘Arts & Culture Journalism’ and ‘Photojournalism’.

He is member, committee to restructure the National School of Drama, Delhi; member, Board of Governors, Indian Institute of Advance Study, Shimla, member, Governing Council, Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi and Managing Trustee, SPACES, An Arts Foundation, Chennai.

A former Arts Editor with India’s leading financial daily The Economic Times, he has practiced and taught critical alternatives in the media, and edited interventionist journals. He writes a weekly column in ‘Malayalam’, the leading Malayalam language periodical from the Indian Express stable, Kochi, and a fortnightly column for ‘Business Standard’.

He conceptualised and edited the first ever ‘weekly page’ on modern design in mainstream Indian media, in The Economic Times. He also helped devise a foundational course in ‘Design & Design Concepts’ for senior students of ‘The School’, Chennai, of the Krishnamurthy Foundation of India.

Several exhibitions he has curated, includes a major fifty-years retrospective of Dashrath Patel for the National Gallery of Modern Art , in New Delhi and Mumbai. He has contributed several catalogue pieces for artists, ceramists, photographers.

His photographic works have been included in anthologies of the best photographic work from India and he is currently Editorial Advisor, ‘Better Photography’, Mumbai, in which he also writes a regular monthly column.

A long-time collaborator with Chandralekha, he is deeply involved with issues connected with the creation of a contemporary Indian dance and has travelled extensively in India and abroad as the technical director of Chandralekha’s performances. In 2001, he coordinated, for Sangeet Natak Akademi, Delhi, the first international symposium and workshop in India on ‘Light and Movement’.

He has convened several national-level seminars and round-tables, including a national symposium on ‘Emerging Issues in the Media’ for Media Development Foundation, Chennai, 2003, which brought together 30 of the most important proprietors, editors, columnists and scholars in the Indian media.