India-Pakistan theatre festival to be revived next year

The Punj Pani Theatre Festival, the only event that brings together theatre performers from Pakistani and Indian sides of Punjab, is being revived after a gap of five years.

The festival, launched by the All Punjab Performing Artists Network (APPAN) and Ajoka in 2004, will be held early
next year.

The idea of establishing the network for performing artists from the two sides of Punjab emerged during Ajoka’s
tour of India’s Punjab state in November 2003.

Indian artists last participated in the festival held in Lahore in 2007. After the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the event could not be held, the organisers said.

Punj Pani was proposed for the joint production of plays, holding theatre workshops and organising joint events to mark anniversaries of Sufi poets and heroes of the independence movement.

Ajoka Theatre’s creative director Madeeha Gauhar said: “The people of Pakistan and India have a common heritage and
Ajoka, through festivals, had in the past opened new avenues of friendship between the two countries.”

The revival of the festival will be a major breakthrough in theatre activity between the Pakistani and Indian sides of