In the world of arts and entertainment, Shabdabali Group Theatre needs no introduction. For 37 years the group has showcased excellent performance on stage; orchestrating some of the most distinguished plays in the theatre world. Located in Barisal, Shabdabali is considered the pioneer of Barisal's theatre culture and has taken part in many theatre festivals in the country and abroad. Apart from hosting 5 national theatre festivals, Shabdaboli established the country's first studio theatre.
“The group was first formed in 1978 in the hands of Professor Alamgir Hai and Humayun Kabir Selim,” says Sayed Dulal, the current chairman of Shabdabali Theatre Group and founder of the studio theatre. “We dedicated this group to establish the art of theatre in a then remote area- Barisal.” The first director ever working with the group was Professor Shaikhul Islam. “He was the pioneer of modern theatre in Barisal and with his help Shabdabali's first show was a huge success,” says Dulal. Renowned theatre activists such as Altaf Hossain Kabir, Khandakar Mizanur Rahman, Khaled Hossain Panna, Shahana Giyas, Nadira Anu, Aruna Das, and late Ennayat Hossain Milan have worked with Shabdabali, taking its performances to their peaks.
Though they reached the hearts of the audiences a long time ago, Shabdabali made its mark by creating the first ever studio theatre. “In 1987, I joined a workshop organised by Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation,” says Sayed Dulal. “That was the first time I had heard about a studio theatre and I immediately proposed this idea to the group.” The idea was accepted positively by everyone and in 1991; Shabdabali's studio theatre was born. The studio is built with Shabdabali's own light settings and audio equipment, providing everything there is to stage a play. More than 900 plays have been staged in the studio theatre since now. They also have a section for children called 'Shabdabali Shishu Theatre'. Here children of different ages practice the art of theatre and have already staged their plays in countries such as Russia, Delhi, Kolkata etc.
On January 15, 2016 Shabdabali Theatre will celebrate twenty five years of its studio theatre. “We plan on organising the biggest theatre festival in the country. Every theatre group from the country will join us, making it one of its kinds,” says Sayed Dulal.