In news- The Manipur government has planned to use the popular ‘Shumang Leela’ form of theatre to reach out to people and spread awareness against Covid-19. Plans are underway to stage a play titled ‘Keidoubagi Kidoino’ (There is no need to fear) directed by Sougrakpam Hemanta.
About Shumang Leela form-
- It is also called Shumang Kumhei.
- It is a traditional form of theatre in Manipur.
- ‘Shumang’ means courtyard and ‘Leela’ means play.
- The theatre is arranged in the form of open air from four sides.
- All the characters, including women, are played by male actors.
- It was officially recorded for the first time in the state with the Harischandra leela in 1918.
- However, the form is much older and is believed to have existed during the reign of King Chandrakriti (1851-1886).
- In 2017, Sougrakpam Hemanta was conferred the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in recognition of his contribution in Shumang Leela, thus became the first person to receive the award for this art form.
- The theatre form remains a popular medium to spread awareness on social issues.