Cultural Outreach

A Virtual META Boost for Indian Theatre

The Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) is entering its 15th landmark year. The virtual red carpet and awards ceremony to be held on August 30 in a curated virtual environment will include leading theatre personalities, past and present nominees and META awardees.

META, which was instituted to increase awareness of theatre and its appreciation by Indians, is promoted by the Mahindra Group as part of its cultural outreach programme. Curated by Teamwork Arts, a pioneering arts and entertainment company, META recognises and rewards the best of theatre each year – from productions and performances to their makers and facilitators.

META 2020 was originally scheduled to be held in New Delhi in March 2020. The event was postponed in the backdrop of the global pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. “The show must go on,” said Jay Shah, Vice President, Head – Cultural Outreach at the Mahindra Group. “We rise to the challenges thrown up by the pandemic and I applaud the entire theatre community for coming together at this difficult time.”

META 2020 will present awards in 13 competitive categories – best play, best director, best original script, best stage design, best light design, best innovative sound design, best costume, best ensemble, best choreography, best actor and best actress in lead, and supporting roles.

META 2020 received 385 entries across themes, regions, languages, forms, and people earlier this year. Scrutinised by a selection committee, the entries were pruned to 10 nominations which include five productions from Maharashtra, two from Kerala and one each from Assam, Delhi, and West Bengal. Besides Hindi, English, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, Assamese, the shortlisted plays even includes a non-verbal play.

The esteemed jury includes stage director and filmmaker Mahesh Dattani, acclaimed playwright and novelist Makarand Sathe, veteran actress and teacher of speech and drama Sushma Seth, actor-director Vinay Pathak and well-known film, television and theatre actor and director, Lillete Dubey. Winners will be announced online.

META 2020 will also include a three-weeklong celebration that includes a theatre critics conference on August 10, which will focus on critical discourse on theatre in the country; the launch of the first-ever edition of META’s ‘Best Original Script’ on August 18, and a tribute to theatre veteran Barry John on August 23. Barry John will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

Watch all the META events on the Facebook handle @MahindraExcellenceinTheatreAwards and on the YouTube METAwards CHANNEL.

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