After a long hiatus, the Ganga-Jamuna Cultural Festival returns on October 1st (Friday) to the Shilpakala Academy, commemorating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of independent Bangladesh.
However, the Indian cultural groups will not be present in this year's festival due to the pandemic, so the local counterparts will be carrying the stage. Ganga-Jamuna Sangskritik Utsab Parshad organised the eighth edition of the festival in association with the Cultural Ministry of Bangladesh, India-Bangladesh Foundation and BSA.
The last edition of the festival comprising artists' collectives from the lands along which the eponymous rivers flow, Indians and Bangladeshis, was held in 2019, at which point it had been an annual event for eight years.
The convening committee of this year's festival held a press conference at the seminar room of the Academy on Wednesday.
Playwright Mir Zahid Hasan, a member of the committee and convener of the campaign sub-boards, read out a written statement presided over by Golam Kuddus, convener of the festival and vice-president of Sammilita Sangskritik Jote.
The 12-day festival will be held from October 1 to 12 at the main auditorium hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala National Theater, Experimental Theater Hall, Studio Theater Hall, National Music-Dance-Recitation Auditorium and the open stage of the National Theater Hall.
"We were unable to hold the festival last year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. In the last one and a half years, we have lost many cultured people in our country, cultural activists and countless people. We, the Ganga-Jamuna Cultural Festival Board, convey our utmost respect for all," the organizers said at the press conference.
They further stated that this year's event would showcase 36 theatrical performances by 36 different theatre groups from Dhaka and beyond. Music, choreography, and recitation will be performed by 44 music recitations and dance troupes in the auditorium, and the festival will showcase around 3500 artists from 140 noted and promising cultural groups.
In addition to these performances, 12 street-plays alongside the presentation of 11 recitation groups, 12 music groups, 11 dance groups, 10 children's groups and solo recitals and solo music performances will be showcased on the open stage.
Eminent music composer, Freedom Fighter and Shwadhin Bangla Betar Kendra artist Shujeyo Sham will inaugurate the 12-day festival on Friday at the National Theater Auditorium. State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid will be the chief guest at the inaugural function.
Eminent thespians including former Minister for Cultural Affairs Asaduzzaman Nur, Ramendu Majumder, Ataur Rahman, Mamunur Rashid, Nasiruddin Yousuff And Liaquat Ali Lucky, Chairman of Bangladesh Group Theater Federation and Director General of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy will be the guests of honour in the inaugural session.
Welcoming remarks will be made by Akhtaruzzaman, Member Secretary of the Festival Board and will be presided over by Gelam Quddus, Convener of the Festival Board.
The inaugural evening will then showcase "Paayer Awaaz Paoa Jay," written by Syed Shamsul Haque and directed by Abdullah Al Mamun at the National Theatre Hall. Meanwhile, the Experimental Theater Hall will have Aranyak Natyadal's play "Kohe Facebook," written and directed by Mamunur Rashid.
The cultural stage will start from 4pm to 6:30pm every day and the stage play will start at 7 in the evening every day. Advance tickets for the play will be on sale at the counter.