Sameera Iyengar and Sanjna Kapoor at the Junoon Press Conference in Horniman Circle Garden
When the change of guard at Prithvi Theatre was announced last year, speculation was rife. With Sanjna Kapoor officially stepping down this year and brother Kunal Kapoor taking over the mantle at Prithvi, a new season is in order for both the siblings. In her new avatar, Sanjna Kapoor is one of the Directors at Junoon, a company that she has found with Sameera Iyengar. Swati Apte, Satyam Vishwanathan and Ayaz Ansari are also part of Junoon's core team.
Junoon, which is registered as a charitable trust and also a private limited company, hopes to create far reaching and long lasting partnerships with individuals and various groups of people in order to create an environment where theatre and the arts have an integral role to play in society. Briefly, the trust/company will work towards providing the experience and the expertise that will help theatre flourish. It plans to do this at various levels and through different channels of interaction.
Its key focus areas will be reaching out to children and the youth, collaborating with theatre practitioners for shows across the country, showcasing international theatre, providing scholarships and helping people build and strengthen performance spaces. Junoon begins its journey with an 'Arts At Play' program which will include creative workshops for children and theatre performances in schools in Mumbai. In November/December 2012 it will host the travelling theatre Company, Footsbarn that will showcase its production of Shakespeare's TEMPEST. With Naseeruddin Shah's theatre group Motley, Junoon has programmed a Shaw festival in Delhi and Gurgaon early next year. Later in 2013, it will partner with Sunil Shanbag's theatre group Arpana to do a tour of its production- STORIES IN A SONG to various cities and towns in India.
Team Junoon- (from top left)- Ayaz Ansari, Sanjna Kapoor, Satyam Vishwanathan, Swati Apte and Sameera Iyengar
Separately, none of these initiatives are new, but it's perhaps for the first time that they are brought together under the management of one company and a trust. Junoon's strength will also be its challenge. The profile of its core team reveals expertise in areas of the Arts and in Management. Swati Apte and Satyam Vishwanathan come from corporate backgrounds. Sameera Iyengar and Ayaz Ansari, more familiar to the theatre community, have closely worked with Sanjna Kapoor over many years.
Sanjna Kapoor read out a passionate quote about the theatre by her maternal grandfather Geoffrey Kendal during the small press conference organized for heralding her new company. She was overwhelmed. It's a new beginning no doubt.