Preserving traditional dance
The Tower Hall Foundation, after years of activities to promote and preserve traditional nadagam and nurthi, has taken initiatives to conduct workshops for the youth who are interested in learning about nurthi and nadagam and take part in them as well as preserving them.
The Director General of the Tower Hall Foundation, Douglas Siriwardena said that the main intention of planning to conduct workshops is to give an idea of what nurthi and nadagam are to the younger generation.
"So, we expect the applicant to be young and have at least a basic knowledge on dancing and singing, because both nurthi and nadagam are based on music. If he has knowledge on northern Indian ragadhari music, it would be better", he said.
"We expect to interview the applicants and chose the best for the workshop. When all the applicants have been chosen we will decide when we will have the workshop", Mr. Siriwardena added.
Nurthi and Nadagam
Nadagam and Nurthi initially the same with nurthi deriving from nadagam gradually with people becoming too busy to spend the whole night watching it. So, though Nadagam is a drama being acted throughout the night, till dawn, in nurthi, the time has been reduced to 2-3 hours.
The costumes are more colourful in nurthi than in nadagam and stage decorations too are of a high standard in nurthi.
Nadagam was presented in open areas where a lot of people can gather and watch it till dawn. Nurthi was presented on a stage with colourful costumes and decorations.
The first nurthi was staged in December 1877.
Music in Nurthi and
Music plays a vital role in both nurthi and nadagam, though the music used in them differs from each other. "Maddalaya" (a south Indian music instrument) is the main music instrument used in nadagam and in nurthi; thabla is used as the main instrument. In nurthi, ragadhari music is being used to produce more effect than in nadagam.
Nurthi songs too are of a higher standard than nadagam. It developed gradually since nurthi was first started separately from nadagam "We have a vast collection of nurthi songs. They differ a lot too. Some are religious, some are about love and so on," Mr. Siriwardena said.
Tower Hall foundation
The Tower Hall Foundation was founded in 1978, 67 years later building the Tower Hall on December 16, 1911. Since then, under the guidance of various directors, the Tower Hall Foundation has been taking necessary steps to preserve nurthi, nadagam as well as the Tower Hall theatre.
Plans for the year
Mr. Siriwardena stated that the Tower Hall Foundation is planning to launch many projects to preserve nurthi and nadagam. "We are planning to start a project to conserve traditional nurthi though we do not want to limit ourselves to nurthi," he said.
Explaining other plans of the Foundation Mr. Siriwardena said that they will reprint five nurthi scripts in order to make it accessible to the public once again as it was before.
"Moreover, we plan to hold Inter-school Nurthi Competitions and nurthi concerts by the youth," he said adding that the Foundation has already conserved nurthi Bodu bethi geetha.