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Society

Thespianz Foundation eyes US donors to promote performing arts in Pakistan

The Karachi-based non-profit is set to launch a fundraising drive in the United States in September. The group uses performing arts to raise awareness of social issues and improve lives.

By Javed Mahmood


The Thespianz Foundation stages a play titled "Kala-Kaar" (The Artist) in Karachi April 11 to promote religious harmony, peace and tolerance. [Javed Mahmood]

The Thespianz Foundation stages a play titled "Kala-Kaar" (The Artist) in Karachi April 11 to promote religious harmony, peace and tolerance. [Javed Mahmood]

KARACHI -- The Thespianz Foundation, a Pakistan-based non-profit also registered in the United States, is seeking to promote the performing arts, which it uses to raise awareness of social issues and improve the lives of Pakistanis.

The foundation plans to raise funds from the United States to further its mission, Faisal Malik, founder-director of the Karachi-based organisation, told Pakistan Forward.

That mission includes performances throughout Pakistan.

Malik, who graduated in 2008 from the National Academy of Performing Arts in Karachi and worked in the United States, launched the Thespianz Theatre in Karachi in 2005 on a trial basis.

He registered his non-profit as the Thespianz Foundation in 2010 and as a trust in the state of Illinois in 2014.

"Beginning in September, we will hold fundraising dinners and other events in different cities of the United States to generate money to promote our mission," he said.

"We have received funding from the United States and Germany in the past, but it was not sufficient to widen the scope of the performing arts in Pakistan," Malik added.

Malik's goal is to raise at least $100,000 (Rs. 11 million) in funding in the United States in 2018, including from Pakistani philanthropists based there. He added that the foundation will hold fundraising dinners and activities and will organise live performances once it meets fundraising targets. The American people and charities are strong supporters of the performing arts, he said.

"We are organising performances in four languages -- English, Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi -- in Pakistan, especially in Karachi," Noman Mahmood, the foundation's associate director, told Pakistan Forward.

The foundation will prepare a joint team of Pakistani and American youngsters to organise a series of performances in the United States to promote the performing arts, said Mahmood.

The foundation is well known in Pakistan for promoting the performing arts and has trained more than 6,000 youngsters in Pakistan since 2005 in those arts, added Mahmood, saying that the foundation will create a name for itself in the United States through its activities.

Raising social awareness

In the past, the foundation has highlighted social issues through art, raising awareness of corruption, water scarcity, poverty, illiteracy, inequality, bad governance and the violation of women's and transgender rights.

In one example, according to Malik, the foundation performed a drama in 2009, highlighting future water shortage issues in Pakistan. With support from the US Consulate in Karachi, the State Department's cultural envoy to Karachi, Dr. Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, traveled to the city in 2009 and jointly directed the drama with the foundation, said Malik.

In 2016, its theatre in Karachi held hundreds of puppet-show performances throughout the city to steer audiences away from extremism.

The foundation has performed several dramas and puppet shows and other events in remote areas of Sindh Province such as Kandhkot and Jan Mohmmad Jamali Goth, said Malik.

"The performing arts are a very powerful medium in raising social awareness and influencing minds," Azra Mansoor, a senior TV and film artist based in Lahore, told Pakistan Forward.

Viewers of dramas and puppet shows do not forget their messages for a long time, she said.

The Thespianz Foundation is doing excellent work in promoting the performing arts in Pakistan, said Mansoor, who has more than 50 years' experience in show business.

New talent should enter the performing arts in abundance and the profession should not be used for purely commercial ends, she added.

A key purpose of the performing arts should be the betterment of society and the illumination of critical issues like rape, child abuse and persecution and injustice towards women, she said. She cited other concerns like domestic politics in general and the need to combat exploitation, neglect and inequality in the development of social sectors like education and health.

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Bazil nizami | 08-27-2018

This is the best platform for new comers people can easily can share there point of view through these kinds of theaters.we can easily talk on social issus. We should must support our theater and dramas.

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Nimra | 08-25-2018

Great work by Thespianz. Appreciated! And good luck!

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Mustafa Mohammad | 08-25-2018

Great job. The way you outlined the competitive landscape gave everyone important context. It is a big contribution toward our society. Keep thinking along these lines.

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Mukhtar wali | 08-25-2018

Thespianz Foundation is doing great job to promote peace and awareness on different issue through Arts.

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Saif | 08-25-2018

I’ve been watching Thespianz from 5 or 6 years. And their work is the best.. Like the message they portray through their plays are totally positive.. Best of Luck Thespianz.. I wish to see Thespianz in a big place.

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Qatada | 08-25-2018

I think it is very good idea.. and i will do dua for the success of show..

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Khushboo Fatima | 08-25-2018

Thespianz is one of the greatest talent of Pakistan which thespianz foundation is greatly carrying. I have experienced their work they're amazing. Best of luck Thespianz. May you guys have more success in this arty Feild.

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Rahim Zafar | 08-25-2018

Great Job! It's not easy to promote the rights of transgender society but Thespianz is indeed doing a great job! They're making a change in the society that wasn't even admired. A huge shoutout to Thespianz Foundation.

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Waqar Younus | 08-25-2018

I appreciate your struggle

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