Rangayana established by the Government of Karnataka in 1989 is the baby of Late B.V.Karanth’s dream. Rangayana has imbibed his imagination, vision, brilliance , dream along with the hard work of the artists, technicians and staff has blossomed into a beautiful place Sri C.Basavalingaiah and Sri Prasanna, Sri Chidambara Rao Jambe who became Directors subsequently have worked very hard to build a conceptual foundation to this institution and expanded its scope and horizon.
Rangayana was visualized in such a way that its activities were not to replicate or duplicate the preoccupations of similar theatre companies elsewhere. And hence right from the process of selection of the artistes it had to follow innovative methods in talent-scouting. As a result of this meticulous method the focus was more on the raw energetic artistes who had unbounded enthusiasm in joining the Rangayana experiment. Most of the artistes are drawn dram from the rural areas and they represent virtually all geographical nooks and corners of Karnataka. Consisting of 19 male artistes and 6 female artistes in the beginning, the Rangayana was actually three things in one: a professional theatre repertory, a national-level theatre training institute and documentation centre for the theatre arts.
The modern theatre in Karnataka is, by and large, predominantly reflective of the amateur ethos. But still its semi-professional moorings have not stunted its growth and activity. It is with this steadfastness the directors like C. Basavalingaiah, Prasanna, Chidambara Rao Jambe, B. Jayashree and Lingadevaru Halemane have wielded the baton with aplomb and dignity after the redoubtable B.V. Karanth.
Rangayana has contributed in a very significant way for enhancing the social and cultural vitality of the society. The repertory has capitalized on the preparedness of the rasikas of Mysore who have kept the theatre-tradition alive right from the days of the Maharajas.
Rangayana has the sylvan surroundings with iconic backdrop of Kukkarahalli tank, the University administration centre, Crawford Hall, the University Colleges, Maharaja’s and Yuvaraja’s and the most imposing structure of Kalamandira.
The establishing of Rangasamaja in the year 1994 ushered in a new orientation for the activities of Rangayana. Rangasamaja took the invitative :
- To make Rangayana on par with the national and international institutions having similar objective.
- To make Rangayana the representative repertory of Karnataka.
- To establish “Vanaranga”, “Mini Rangamandira”, ” Round Arena”, and “Children’s Theatre”
- To invite theatre experts, researchers, playwrights, directors, actors and troupes. It also visualized the need to arrange theatre workshops, writing and directing plays, besides conducting seminars, conferences, theatre festivals and exhibitions.
- To bring into fold those who are interested in theatre and to make them participate in the activities via training.
- To collect material pertaining to theatre; conducting research and to disseminate information gathered through articles, booklets and books and to publish new Kannada plays in addition to the Kannada transations of the play available in other languages.
- To establish “Ranga Mahiti Kendra” or theatre Documentation Centre and the Library.
- To establish contact with the persons and organizations having similar objectives with a view to promoting academic and cultural ties.
It was visualized at the start to open three or four centres of Rangayana, such as, Karavali Rangayana, Malenad Rangayana, Hyderabad-Karnataka Rangayana, in order to reflect and represent the regional variety and richness of language and culture. Shimoga centre is poised to begin its function.
Most of the above mentioned-objectives and initiatives have been fulfilled involving the experts and organizations in India and abroad. One of the ventures is a collaborative endeavour between Rangayana and an organization called CIDA in Sweden which laid stress on the “Children’s Theatre” as approached by professional theatre companies.