Tagore Theatre is an oasis in Chandigarh in the field of varied forms of art. Being the only theatre in Chandigarh for a long time, it had become an important hub of cultural activities for the citizens of Chandigarh. Now it has been converted into an auditorium.
It is a centre for cultural performances and was designed by architect Aditya Parkash.
The idea to build Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh sprung up when the Central government decided in the birth centenary year of Rabindranath Tagore in 1961 to build ‘rangmanches’ in every state capital. It started functioning in 1962. ... There were a lot of protests, for example by the Stage Arts group and the Tagore Art group when the Tagore Theatre was demolished. Theatre lovers also staged dharnas.
In the new theatre, there were 578 seats which have now increased to 800 approximately. In this very space, a balcony could have been constructed. Earlier, the green rooms were good. There was no need to change the structure of Tagore Theatre. The performing area and the spectators’ gallery were interchanged in the new design. There were vehement protests from theatre buffs and practitioners of the art.
The acoustics in the earlier structure were excellent. There was no need for a microphone. They were rough and black, a conducive medium for sound. Now, they are wooden in colour, which may not be an improvement. There is a false ceiling because of air-conditioning. The light booth is so far away so that the stage is not fully visible.
Sometimes the viewers don’t have a clear sight of the corners of the stage, depending on where they’re sitting.
Some years ago, in Sector 34, Chandigarh, the UT administration planned to build a 1,000-seat theatre. The basement is still there. Rs 9-10 crore was spent on the project but it got stuck at that stage.
When it was being planned that the Tagore Theatre would be demolished and built anew, Aditya Parkash, the original architect, was not consulted. His views were not cared for, says Arora.
He died a heart-broken man.