The Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) and Festival 2023 announced today that the META 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award will be conferred on celebrated Indian stage, film and television actress Sushma Seth who will be felicitated during the award ceremony on 29th March 2023 at Kamani Auditorium. Teamwork Arts and Mahindra Group hosted a press conference at the India Habitat Centre introducing the jury members, namely theatre Indian theatre director Amal Allana; Indian theatre and Film Actress Arundhati Nag; award-winning theatre director Bruce Guthrie; director Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry; Sangeet Natak Akademi Award recipient and actor Mohan Agashe; award-winning theatre artist and actor Shernaz Patel; and Director of India Habitat Centre and President of the Delhi Music Society Sunit Tandon.
The announcements come ahead of the week-long Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) and Festival to be held from March 23rd to 28th, 2023 at New Delhi’s Kamani Auditorium and Shri Ram Centre, where META 2023’s ten-shortlisted plays will be performed for an esteemed panel of jury members, as well as theatre-lovers in the capital.
As always, this year too, the Festival will focus on inclusivity with its diverse repertoire of plays from across the country. Like each year, META shortlisted over 400 entries representing languages like Assamese, English, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Marwari and Tamil.
This year’s Lifetime Awardee, Sushma Seth started her career in the 1950s, and was a founder member of the Delhi-based theatre group Yatrik. Her first movie was Junoon in 1978. She is known for her role as Dadi in the pioneering TV soap Hum Log that aired in the 1980s and set many trends for television entertainment in the country.
In previous years, the META Lifetime Achievement Award has been conferred on several stalwarts of Indian theatre, including Late Badal Sircar (2010), Late Zohra Sehgal (2011), Late Khaled Chaudhury (2012), Late E Alkazie (2013), Late Girish Karnad (2014), Late Heisnam Kanhai Lal (2015), Ratan Thiyam (2016), Late Arun Kakde (2017), Vijaya Mehta (2018), Mahesh Elkunchwar (2019) and Barry John (2020).
Jay Shah, Head, Cultural Outreach, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, said, “We are thrilled to confer the META 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award on Sushma Seth, a veteran of the stage who understands the complexity and nuances of theatre and has in fact lived the craft fully through her vast body of work. The stage has unbounded potential and we continue to applaud it!”
Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director, Teamwork Arts & Festival Producer, said, “META 2023 will present awards in 14 categories including the Lifetime Achievement Award. The 13 competitive categories are for Best Play, Best Director, Best Stage Design, Best Light Design, Best Innovative Sound Design, Best Costume Design, Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male), Best Actor in a Lead Role (Female), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female), Best Original Script, Best Ensemble and Best Choreographer. “
Sharing her thoughts Shernaz Patel said, “It is no mean feat to run a programme of such depth and magnitude for 18 years. But META has never wavered from their quest to celebrate theatre and applaud its talent. At a time when people question the staying power of the stage, I am so happy that I will be a part of the META community this year to reiterate why we all do this, to share in the joy of theatre and to honour its best.”
“You want to have a look at the PANINDIA best theatrical productions this year, don’t miss META Theatre Festival in Delhi in March 2023”, said Dr. Mohan Agashe.
Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry said, “In theatre we make the actors and hopefully the audience go on a journey utilising the tools of time and space. Stories are told that propose a way people can live together with humanity. We need art to wake us. To wake that part of our life that has got calcified.”
The Mahindra Theatre Festival has evolved into a platform that promotes fresh, new talent, encouraging practitioners to explore stimulating approaches to theatre making. 2023 brings us a special suite of plays from diverse regions of the country that extend the boundaries of artistic excellence”, said Amal Allana.
Running parallel to the theatre festival, [email protected] are going to be a series of workshops and conversations that will feature theatre-practitioners and META-nominated stalwarts. The workshops are an extension of META’s endeavour to nurture Indian theatre and build a community of practitioners dedicated to the craft. It is also aimed at enhancing public engagement with theatre and developing an appreciation for the multitude of skills and techniques involved in putting together quality theatre productions. This year, the workshops will be on the art of scenography, movements and expressions, devising theatre, theatre criticism, and light & sound, while the conversations will be online and focus on gripping themes such as the politics of theatre, the importance of set-design, the gap between movies & theatre, and the craft of original writing.
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