The founding of the National Centre for the Performing Arts has been a unique landmark in the history of post-independence India for the breadth and scope of its activity in the field of culture. The dissemination of offerings in Indian, Western and International Music, Dance, Theatre and Photography, therefore, is a crucial area of our work as the national centre.
This need for dissemination has been felt more acutely since the pandemic. While audiences have returned to the theatres, they have now also experienced new vistas that the digital world has opened up. The endeavour to make this foray to widen the reach of our performances and educational initiatives has been supported by the HT Parekh Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (HDFC). This generous support has enabled the establishment of our new Digital Studio Hub, equipped with stateof-the-art audio-visual facilities, which include a chromakey studio, preview theatre and library equipment. In recognition and appreciation of this gesture, a plaque was unveiled at the Tata Theatre on 29th March.
Thanking Mr. Deepak Parekh, Chairman, HDFC, and philanthropist Mrs. Smita Parekh for their support over the years, Mr. Khushroo N. Suntook, Chairman, NCPA, said at the unveiling,
“Their continuous and generous funding of the NCPA has culminated with a large contribution towards the digitisation of our facilities. This is to spread culture in all its myriad forms to a much wider audience than would be possible, if they only had to attend evenings at our theatres.”
In his speech on the occasion, which he ended on a poetic note, Mr. Parekh congratulated Mr. Suntook and his team on “running the NCPA as an exceptional cultural institution, making it the most sought-after venue for artistic performances in Mumbai. It takes a lot of time passion, time and resources to build a world-class centre of this scale, and thereafter to maintain and upgrade it for decades together.” Both Mr. Suntook and Mr. Parekh pointed out that the arts are not adequately supported. “Whilst generous grants are bestowed by companies on sectors such as education, healthcare, skilling, etc., there are a handful that have consciously chosen to direct their philanthropy towards arts and culture, recognising their invaluable contribution to creating a healthier and more humane society,” said Mr. Parekh, adding, “We have supported the establishment of the Digital Studio Hub at the NCPA with a long-term objective of digitising and preserving their precious cultural content. This will ultimately result in an outreach to a far larger audience, including the Indian diaspora overseas.”
While technology is the enabler, it is the arts that must take the lead. “Technology alone is not enough. It is technology married with liberal arts, married with humanities, that fills our hearts with joy,” Mr. Suntook concluded.
This piece was originally published by the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai, in the May 2023 issue of ON Stage – their monthly arts magazine.