New Delhi, April 17: The city's iconic Akshara Theatre, escaped 'going dark' after raising money to pay off pending electricity dues through a crowd funding campaign and by approaching both the centre and state governments for necessary action.
The 44-year-old theatre received donations from artists and students after it went public about the news that its electricity would be cut off on account of non-payment of the hefty dues. Prominent among the contributors is stand up comedian Papa CJ, who donated a sum of Rs 3 lakh to enable the theatre to pay off its bills.
"Papa CJ donated 3 lakh rupees. Another Puneet Mudgil, a businessman and friend of Papa CJ has donated for the theatre. Others include artists from Delhi like Andrew Hofflin and many young people have come forward to help us in whichever way possible to save the theatre," Jalbaba Vaidya, one of the founder members of the Akshara Theatre said.
Despite such support, theatre authorities say they are still lack in funds for even basic operation of the theatre which includes payment to artists, teachers and maintenance. "We still do not have adequate funds for the sustenance of the theatre.
We need a lot of funds to pay the actors and teachers, and for the maintenance of the theatre," says Vaidya. Authorities are now looking at alternative ways to raise funds such as renting out a part of the theatre area for business and other purposes. "Akshara Theatre has many areas in its complex which can be rented out and used for other purposes.
These areas can be utilised for anything. We had given a particular area of the theatre to one person who did not pay his property taxes and left Akshara. "So we are looking for people who can utilise parts of this heritage building which would also help us financially," adds Vaidya.
Following reports in the media, the theatre authorities were also approached and offered support by the Delhi Government.
"The Delhi government had come forward to help us after they got to know through the media reports. Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Minister held a meeting with us. Also people from his ministry came to the theatre and gave us useful solutions. They proposed to do their annual shows of the various departments of the government at Akshara, thus helping us to raise funds and make people aware about this heritage building with a rich history," Vaidya said.