It’s time to sing, dance and perform on the streets and parks of Bangalore. A month long festival, October Jam, is inviting budding artists, musicians, dancers and performers of any genre to be a part of this festival on the streets.
In October 2008, Maraa, a media collective in the city, decided to take performing arts into the streets of Bangalore though a concept called theatre jams. Ekta Mittal, who co-founded Maraa with Ramnath Bhat, recalls, “Our aim then was to reclaim the concept of public spaces and make the arts approachable. We jammed on the first Sunday of every month, in parks and squares in Bangalore” The monthly event took a while to be accepted. What started as a group of 10 people gathering in a park soon became platform for amateur artists to exhibit their works.
Artists jamming on a Sunday afternoon in a Bangalore park
“When we say theatre, we mean it in a performative sense and don’t restrict to drama. We mean the performance of music, drama, poem readings, art installations, anything that rings of art,” says Mittal.
It has been a year since then. Maraa is now organising theatre Jam sessions through the month of October around the city. It will be a continued effort to create a platform for artists and art forms to meet, share and collaborate. The activities will be held in parks, local bars, streets and markets in Bangalore.
Already on the list of activities are, a workshop by activist theatre group Pandies, from Delhi on 3 October, story-telling by Pritam Chakravarthy on the 24 October and several photo and art exhibits, music jams, street plays, and Kannada and Tamil music jams at various venues across the city. While weekdays will witness installations and exhibits, the four Sundays of the month are packed with events. The first Sunday jam( 4 October) will be held in Cubbon Park and will include theatre performances, musical performances and creations of art installations. The Sunday jam on 11 October will take place in Nanda park in Jayanagar in South Bangalore.
The month long October Jam poster
“Such an activity initiates dialogue between different groups of people and creates new meeting points in the city. We are using public spaces in order to open access, participation and expression. As the city is going through a process of transformation, communities and geographies are getting fragmented,” says Mittal.
Through theatre jam, Maraa is seeking to break the barriers on the answer to who is considered an artist. The idea is to bring art outside the boundaries of galleries and auditoriums that restrict the access to art. “Everybody is on the same platform here. Nobody is a bigger artist than the other,” says Mittal, who points out that none of performing artists are being paid because everybody who will be there will take part in the spirit of jamming.
October Jam begins on October 1 on MG road. The calendar for the month long event is a constant work in progress. For updates, log on here .