This is a computerised data bank of the available theatre buildings and spaces for performances in all the districts of Karnataka, based on an extensive field survey done in 2006. Ninasam had conducted one such survey in 1991-92 and the 2006 survey has updated the earlier data. This database is intended for the use of professional theatre groups, students of theatre as well as research scholars and cultural administrators.
Ninasam with its various branches and allied organisation has been working in the fields of Theatre, Cinema, Literature, Folk Arts and other cultural media for the last 4-5 decades and its work has received national and international acclaim. Through its repertory unit Tirugata, Ninasam has so far given more than 1500 shows in all parts of Karnataka. While organising these shows, Ninasam has felt the lack of information about the availability as well as the nature of theatre spaces. The primary impetus for doing this survey, in fact, originated there.
THE SURVEY PROJECT
The project consisted of two phases:
1. Updating of the existing survey done by Ninasam in 1991-92 and
2. Design and hosting of a website to make the data accessible
The First survey: As mentioned earlier, Ninasam had conducted an extensive survey of existing theatre spaces during 1991-92. Eight theatre students were recruited during that survey and they visited all the commonly used theatre spaces in all the districts of Karnataka. The details gathered about each theatre space during their visit included the following:
• The name, location, address of the theatre
• The type of stage, auditorium and the seating capacity
• The details of its administration, rental details, availability
• The dimensions of stage, off stage, auditorium and other areas
• Other spaces and conveniences attached to the space
• List of equipment available
• A sketch-plan of the whole building/space
All this information was recorded on a questionnaire and later verified and consolidated by a group of experts and finally, an extensive report was prepared. The report, which consisted of the information mentioned above, encompassed about 420 theatre spaces and included a district wise overview and a general introduction.
Updating the 1991-92 survey:
The information collected during the 1991-92 survey was updated during the first phase of the present project. Since the 1991-92 survey, several new theatre spaces have come up and there were some spaces that had been left out in the previous survey.
For the 2005-06 survey, a new group of twenty-one students were recruited and they visited all the towns and cities covered in the first survey. The students looked for new spaces to include in the survey and verified the data that had been collected earlier and made note of the alterations and corrections. This information was collected on questionnaires and then tabulated and consolidated.
The present survey consisted of the following steps:
• A meeting was conducted with theatre experts to redesign the questionnaire and to evolve the ‘criteria for selection’ of theatre spaces
• The actual survey was supervised by an experienced coordinator
• The data was consolidated on paper
Computerisation of the data:
The consolidated report of the 1991-92 survey was a 1700 page document and it was cumbersome to use the document for cross reference. In the case of the present survey it was proposed that the data would be fed into a database which could be accessed with a search engine using different parameters like type of theatre, seating capacity and rating. The database would be hosted on a website so that it could be accessed by theatre persons and people with an interest in theatre. It would also be easier to update the database in the future.
The whole project was completed in a period of twelve months in 2005-06. The time that was spent for each phase of the project is roughly as follows:
• Re-survey of theatre spaces: 3 months.
• Updating and consolidation of data: 3 months.
• Computerisation: 3 months.
• Time margin: 3 months.
• Total: Twelve months.
POSSIBLE USES OF THE DATA BANK
As mentioned earlier, the database will be of immense help to various kinds of users including:
• Professional theatre groups intending to perform their plays in several spaces
• Theatre students intending to study theatre buildings
• Architects who wish to plan new theatre spaces
• Research scholars, theatre critics and historians
• Theatre Administrators, funding agencies, academies and the government.
To keep the data updated with the changes in theatre spaces, for the maximum utilisation of the data by theatre practitioners and others.