The auditorium inside Jamshed Memorial Hall is perhaps the oldest venue for theatre performance in Karachi. With uncontrolled commercialization of Bunder road, much of cultural activities along with theatre shifted to other areas of the city. Jamshed Memorial Hall also suffered from the changing dynamics and remained dormant as far as theatre is concerned.
The casualty in this entire scheme of things was affordable entertainment for residents of the area and beyond. Bunder road has always been more accessible for a large part of society who can’t spend much especially on family entertainment. The revival of theatre at Jamshed Memorial Hall aims to bring affordable theatre back.
The auditorium was the place for theater in its heydays and still boasts excellent infrastructure. It can accommodate around 400 people and has one of the largest stages in the city. However due to remaining inactive for many years, it required a rehaul before it could host a large gathering again. New seats were purchased and stage was renovated in time to host first performance in December, to make most of winter season as auditorium does not have air-conditioning.
The first play was performed on 16th and 17th, an adaptation of an original by Kamal Ahmed Rizvi. Coincidentally 17th Dec was first death anniversary of the talented playwright and actor also. Most of the audience seem to be from the neighborhood, a lot of families including children. There were some disturbances; some outside noise and some technical faults with the lights but most of the audience did not care. They were happy to be there. They were the kind you would not find in audience at performances elsewhere in the city. Inclusivity was perhaps the primary objective of reviving theatre at Jamshed Memorial Hall and it sure did well on these grounds.