The Star Theatre is one of the most eminent theatres and heritage buildings of Kolkata. It is the pride of Bengal’s rich cultural history. Its inception was at a time, when Indian theatre was used as an effective tool to address burning social issues concerning the country during British rule. It brought a new wave of Cultural Revolution which gave a new meaning to Bengali theatre. Many historical plays were staged here under prominent directions. With the setting up of Star Theatre, Bengali theatre gained a great deal of contemporary flavor. The Star Theatre, along with the Minerva Theatre, was one of the renowned among Bengali theatre stages. This heritage site was destroyed in a fire and thereafter restored by the local municipal corporation. The restored Star Theatre maintains the heritage facade although the interiors are contemporary. The property is maintained by a private company now. Presently, the theatre is a cinema hall. However, plays are staged on about two days per month. During winter (December and January) plays are staged here much more frequently (ten days per month). The auditorium has excellent acoustics. At present, after renovations by the Government of West Bengal, Star Theatre hosts many Bengali plays by popular playwrights from Bengal.
Location of Star Theatre at Kolkata
It is situated at Bidhan Sarani, Kolkata near to Shyambazar.
History of Star Theatre of Kolkata
The Star Theatre was established in 1883 by an erudite Bengali art connoisseur Mr. Gurmukh Roy. With its establishment, Bengali theatre gained a new prominence and a marked diction. It became a favorite place for art lovers of Kolkata. The historic day of 21st July, 1883 marked the renaissance period of Bengali theatre with the inaugural staging of the theatre’s first play ‘Daksha Jagna’ under the direction of eminent theatre personality and Father of Bengali theatre – Girish Ghosh. Another well-known theatre personality of that era was the famous theater actress Binodini Dasi, also known as Noti Binodini. There was once a time when the theatre hall was to be named after her, however the suggestion was turned down and it came to be known as Star Theatre. Although other Bengal theater halls like the Great National Theater Hall and the Bina Theater Hall were already present, yet with the commencement of Star Theater, the very creativity, verve and passion of Bengali Theater gained a definite dimension. The theatre gave recognition and fame to a number of exceptional talents. Renowned actors like Girish Chandra Ghosh, `Nati` Binodini, Saraju Devi, Shishir Bhaduri, Dani Mitra, Uttam Kumar, Soumitra Chatterjee, Geeta Dey, Sabitri Chatterjee and Madhabi Mukherjee performed at this famous theatre. All established directors, actors, actresses, light men were once a part of this historic theater hall of Kolkata.
- Girish Chandra Ghosh was one of the first to produce plays at the Star Theatre, in the 1880s.
- Swami Vivekananda had convened a public meeting at the theatre in 1898 to introduce Margaret Nobel, later known as Sister Nivedita. Sri Ramkrishna Paramahamsha and Rabindranath Tagore and Vidyasagar were among the audiences in the theatre hall at that time.
- The Star, along with Minerva and The Classic Theatre, were also one of the places where the first motion pictures in Bengal, made by Hira Lala Sen, were screened.
- In 1931, the last play of the theatre was staged. The play was Manmath Roy`s, Karagar.
- The Star, along with the Minerva Theatre, was one of the first institutions of commercial Bengali theatre.