In its fifth year, given the uncertainty that surrounded us with the world shutting down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IAPAR International theatre festival was committed to finding new ways to keep theatre alive and to continue to engage with stakeholders, creators and audiences. The festival this year featured several online events along with three on-ground activites at the venue in the heart of the city, Pune from the 4th December to the 10th December 2020. This hybrid form of the festival gave birth to several new projects like the The Emerging Artist Laboratory, The change maker, Creative Crossover along with a series of exceptional workshops and masterclasses by senior theatre practitioners and remarkable international artists at the 5th IAPAR International Theatre Festival.
The Emerging Artist Laboratory was a unique, online interaction between young theatre-makers and mentors in the field of theatre. It was a novel programme under the Festival to enable access between field mentors and field youngsters to create work together. The programme facilitated the structured development of a theatrical work with personalised insight and feedback from one of the five mentors guiding the Laboratory. The festival invited applications from passionate individuals in India between ages 30 to 45 as artists driving change within and outside communities through artistic practise that benefits the art form or the society. This year IITF featured Ms Shruthi Veena Vishwanath to be the change maker through her work in the field of music and performance. Creative Crossovers, was another unique idea that identified two Pune based artists to collaborate with international counterparts and create a performance. As a part of this collaboration two new performances were premiered – Constant Acts of Disobeying by Aditi Venkateswaran and “Avyakta” (Unexpressed) by Ashish Vaze & Stephanie Castrejon.