(Est. 1983)

The best way to view any Theatrical work is through Video. Pictures or words cannot represent the spirit behind a theatrical performance. Particularly, for theme plays with political satire and socio-economic messages, you have to see the work for yourself. So we are presenting to you two 10-15 minute Exclusive Videos on different Ajoka plays, tracing the evolution of Ajoka over past quarter century. You will love them, since they reflect your own culture.

1) Watch Video on AJOKA

2) Watch CLIPS from different Plays

Ajoka's Website (Click here)

Ajoka Photographs (Click here)

Ajoka was formed in 1983 when Zia-ul-Haq's Martial Law was at its oppressive peak and all forms of dissent were punishable by imprisonment and lashes. Since then Ajoka has been producing theatre and video/TV plays promoting human rights and social change. Free and unhindered cultural activity is a luxury which a peoples theatre group can only dream of in Pakistan. The state considers theatre and performing arts as subversive, the colonially-trained Establishment is antagonistic to any expression of popular culture and the powerful fundamentalist lobby is openly hostile towards the performing arts. The corporate sector has never been interested in supporting any meaningful cultural activity in the country. Acting is still regarded a taboo for girls and a waste of time for boys. The survival of groups like Ajoka is a story of resilience, courage and personal sacrifices.  
1. To do socially-meaningful theatre and thus contribute to the struggle for a secular, humane, just and egalitarian society in Pakistan.
2. To promote theatre in Pakistan by blending traditional theatre forms with modern techniques and to provide entertainment which has a social relevance.

Ajoka attaches great importance to developing contacts with theatre groups in other countries, particularly in Asia. It has long standing relations with theatre groups in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri-Lanka, the Philippines and has worked on joint productions with several groups of these countries. Ajoka is a key member of SATCO, the South Asian theatre Committee and various cultural cooperation groups in South Asia. It is a member of the Asian Cultural Forum for Development (ACFOD) and the International Drama and Education Association (IDEA).

Within Pakistan Ajoka has worked with NGOs such as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the Family Planning Association of Pakistan, the WWF, the Goethe Institute, the Heinrich-Boll Foundation , the War Against Rape and the Alhamra Arts Council. It has a special relationship with the women's movement and a large number of Ajoka plays have addressed the gender issue.
Ajoka, which pioneered the theatre movement in Pakistan, was set up in 1983 by a group of young people led by Madeeha Gauhar, a TV actress and theatre director. The group was composed of determined, serious-minded individuals who would rather make a difference, than fritter their time away playing bingo and other games. Ajoka's first play, Badal Sarkar's "Jaloos", was performed in Lahore in 1984, in a house lawn in defiance of the strict censorship laws. Since then Ajoka has been continuously performing socially-meaningful plays within Pakistan and abroad. It has now over two dozen original plays and several adaptations in it's repertoire.

Ajoka's Artistic Director Madeeha Gauhar is a leading TV actress and theatre director. She did her Masters in English from the Govt. College Lahore and Masters in Drama from Royal Holloway College, London. She is also a women rights activists.

Shahid Nadeem is a leading play righter and Television /theatre director. He has been associated with Pakistan Television as a producer, programme manager and general manager. He has a number of highly successful TV serials to his credit including 'Neeley hath' (1989), 'Visaal' (1990), 'Zard Dopehr'(1993) and 'Aan' (1995)
He is also a human rights activist and has worked at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International. He has also been associated with the BBC and Zee Network. He has published two collections of his plays titled 'Khasman Khanian' and 'Teesri Dastak'.




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