Since the beginning of time, entertainment has been an important and essential aspect of human life. It has always been a way to divert people’s attention from their hectic, and stereotypical routines. Entertainment is a means of amusement, learning, as well as self-expression and its various forms can also be classified as arts. There are many forms of art which are prominent in our society, such as, music, media, dance, painting, etc. One such art is theatre and performance arts.

Theatre is one of the oldest forms of art which has its roots in old civilizations. The word itself has been derived from the Greek word theaomai which means “to see”. It is basically an art concerned with the live performances of actors to create a dramatic act of imaginary or actual events. It further has many types like, musical, historical, fringe, comical, as well as street theatre.

Street Theatre is a live theatrical performance which is performed outdoors without any specific audience and spectators. It is usually performed at any public area be it a shopping mall or a university, with or without theatrical equipment. Its main purpose is to raise a voice for the masses and spread awareness among the general public regarding social and political issues. Some of the examples of its topics are harassment, family planning, corruption, education and gender equality. Street plays/ theatre provide medium to its artists to express themselves and to tell a story from a common man’s perspective and experience.

Street theatre emerged majorly in the subcontinent in the nineteenth century as a result of Western invasion and influence. Initially, the performances were Marxist-inspired and highlighted the political issues of the time. According to Evaluation of Street Theatre, about 7,000 theatre groups existed in the region. Today in Pakistan, although street theatre may not be as prominent as in the past due to religious restrictions, there are many groups participating in it. Balochistan is no exception to this form of entertainment.

Street theatre is rapidly emerging in the province of Balochistan as more individuals are becoming aware of the field and its impact. There are now many organizations and groups which use street theatre to speak up against conservative challenges faced by the multitudes. An advantage of this platform is that various target groups can be reached out to, since it mainly relies on visual expressions and gestures, and can break through language barriers.

Strengthening Rights and Equality by Empowering Team (STREET) is one of the street theatre groups in Balochistan. Its artists are comprised of working youth from different ethnic, religious and work backgrounds who develop plays on a range of topics concerning social issues. Through street theatre projects, they work for the capacity building and spreading awareness about sensitive and taboo subjects. They also mobilize and train other groups and individuals of the province in theatrical arts.

Minority Rights Group International is another organization which aims to promote tolerance for minority groups of Balochistan, and to encourage ethnic as well as religious harmony through theatre arts. Activists and artists use story-telling and live performances to highlight the importance of diversity and multiculturalism in schools among young students.

In 2017, a cultural auditorium was inaugurated in Quetta, as a platform for performance arts and entertainment. However, the Government of Balochistan should take further initiatives for the promotion of theatre arts such as introducing this subject in different institutions and providing well-equipped theatre auditoriums through-out the province. Moreover, by monitoring the contents of the plays and performances, the Government can use street theatre to encourage the people to work for the development of the province.


About Author

Serwat Fatima is a design graduate from Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design. She belongs to Quetta and has interests in arts and design, creative writing and current affairs.

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