The presence of festivities in Bangladesh is all embracing and as old as time. The history of drama and its performance in Bangladesh is very old. In earlier days, dates back to almost a thousand years we had our rural open air performances, called Jatra. Which after so many years have crossed a long way but changed very little. Even in rural areas, one can find it has traversed paths of glory.
Although it was never smooth and had to face many adverse circumstances. Dedicated performers and all who are connected with performing arts of Bangladesh, have shouldered the great responsibility of taking this type of arts with the application of modern techniques in the field of patronization, staging, to reaching the common people. It may very well be said that drama is the outcome of our tradition and our drama is our pride. The news of our achievements in drama has reached world, crossing the boundaries of Bangladesh.
The member of drama groups in Bangladesh, which are included in the list of group theater federation, is about 145 at present. Although the stage performance of drama in Bangladesh started in the sixties, the history of such performance in exchange of payments is only about 50 years old. This type of performers art started on regular basic only after the war of Independence in 1971.
Today everybody can recall the role played by the students of the University of Dhaka during the mid-sixties in the movement against political and economic deprivation prevalent in the then East Pakistan. Due to the tremendous political surge of those days when the activities in the cultural field was at a stage of utter neglect, the teachers-students center came into being, almost unnoticed. Basically this center was created with the purpose of a shake-up in the cultural life of the Dhaka University. Under the auspices of this Bangladesh Theatre student center, A drama was staged with the active help and co-operation of drama personalities of that time. The drama was titled kritadasher Hashi (A stave’s laugh) written by the famous literature and educationist Showkat Osman.
After the Independence, the famous theater groups that have made their mark are Dhaka Theater; Nagarik; Arranyak; Nandonik and Dhaka Padatik
These groups have attained prominence by the untried zeal and effects of the famous drama personalities like Abdullh-Al-Manun, Ramendu Majumder, Mamunur Rashid, Nasiruddin Yusuf, Humayun Faridi, Fardousi Majumder, Suborna Mustafa and others.
The drama in Bangladesh is mostly Dhaka centred and opportunities in Dhaka are also quite considerable, but work going on in places outside Dhaka. Unfortunately they do not get that much publicity and the newspaper and magazines also do not show much interest in this regard. As a result, regional specialties, which are integral parts of theater, do not get opportunities to flourish.
In consideration of the persistent demands of the theater workers and drama directors, of Dhaka City Corporation has recently constructed an modern Bangladesh theatre hall named Dhaka Mohanagor Natya Mancha, where modern facilities and equipment have been included. At present, most of the dramas are staged in the Mohila Shomity Stage at New Baily Road and modern stages at Shilpakala Academy at Segun Bagicha.
Most of the performances are staged in the evening of thursdays and morning and evening of Fridays. If you want to experience these stage performances just make out two/three hours in those days and go there.