Rs 2 Cr Extreme Makeover! 1952 Built Don Bosco Hall & Now Renovated to be Inaugurated on 27 Jan

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Rs 2 Cr Extreme Makeover! 1952 Built Don Bosco Hall & Now Renovated to be Inaugurated on 27 Jan

Mangaluru: For seven decades the iconic DON BOSCO HALL on Balmatta Road in the City which was an ideal place to stage Konkani, Tulu, Beary, Kannada and other language programmes is on its final stages of renovation done at a whopping cost of Rs two crores, and will be inaugurated on 27 January 2022. During the renovation, care was taken not to make any alteration to its original glory/look. However, after its full completion of work, the hall will have a New Look par Excellence in design!

It is learnt that Don Bosco Hall is adorned in many unique ways, having a stage made of wood and standing directly atop the makeup room. Therefore it has the facility to show wherever necessary, that a person is emerging out of the ground if that is needed in Yakshagana, plays etc. The artists are brought up with the help of a rotary wheel. In the past, this tactic was used to show the appearance of God suddenly. Unfortunately for a few years, this arrangement was out of order, but now it’s working after being repaired. Plastering, roof work, parking space, air-conditioning etc are on the last stage of completion, and all ready to go for the inauguration date.

THE ORIGINAL 1952 DON BOSCO HALL

The theatre was backed by the concept of religious achievement backed by moral values and lifestyle through plays. The hall has provided opportunities for plays, musical programmes, Yakshagana, different dance forms etc. It also gets credit for being the first-ever theatre in coastal Karnataka. The hall will have 650 plus seats and a spacious stage. There are provisions to fix all the arrangements to be made in advance for a play. It also has a makeup room, a temporary restroom among others. The hall is renovated with granite flooring and new fans and lights are fitted in the place of old ones.

A press meet was held on Wednesday, 19 January 2022 to brief about the project and the inauguration in the presence of Rev. Fr. Paul Melwyn D’Souza, President of Konkani Natak Sabha (KNS) joined by the office bearers of KNS on the dais-Lester Derek D’souza, Vice President; Paul D’Mello, General Secretary; Raymond D’Cunha, Public Relations Officer; Gerald Concessao, Treasurer; Praveen Rodrigues, Joint Secretary and Cletus Lobo, Executive Committee Member

Speaking on the occasion Fr Melwyn D’Souza said, “Don Bosco Hall, Balmatta, Road near Jyothi one of the oldest drama theatres Hall’s of the city and also the only auditorium meant exclusively for Drama with artistic, literary and cultural activities is all set for its formal inauguration following renovation. The renovated auditorium will be blessed by Rt. Rev. Dr Peter Paul Saldanha, Bishop of Mangalore Diocese during the inauguration ceremony which will take place on Thursday, January 27, 2022, at 03:00 p.m. N. Shashi Kumar, Commissioner of Mangaluru City Police will inaugurate the new auditorium. Rt. Rev. Dr Alwyn Dias, Provincial Head of the Capuchin Friars has consented to be the Chief Guest. Abu Dhabi based businessman, Sri Leo Rodrigues, Rev. Fr Melwyn Pinto, Rector of St. Aloysius College and Sri Santhosh Sequeira, Kankanady will be the Guests of Honour. Myself (Fr Paul Melwyn D’Souza), President of Konkani Natak Sabha will preside over the function. The inauguration ceremony will be followed by a cultural programme at 06:00 p.m by the actor members of the Sabha”.

“Don Bosco Hall was constructed in the year 1951 by the Konkani Natak Sabha. The Konkani Natak Sabha is the mother institution of Mangalore Konkani theatre Don Bosco Hall. It has served as the venue to showcase Konkani drama and performing arts. Konkani Natak Sabha was the brainchild of the Jesuit priest Rev. George Albuquerque Pai. On September 19, 1943, he had successfully staged a Konkani drama ‘Vignant Jeeth’ at the Academy Hall of St. Aloysius College by mobilizing a few enthusiastic budding youths of Mangalore. This occasion proved to be the initiation for establishing the Konkani Natak Sabha. Hence it is considered to be the Foundation Day of Konkani Natak Sabha. *‘Natak Dwarim Dharmic Saadhan’* is the motto of Konkani Natak Sabha”.

Protection and preservation of Konkani culture through Konkani songs, music, dance, drama and other language-based media, and through this, to propagate humanistic values is the sole objective of Konkani Natak Sabha. The Konkani Natak Sabha, founded by the Jesuit priest Rev. George Albuquerque Pai, was continued, nurtured and groomed by the Capuchin priest Rev. Philip Neri. In its initial years, the Milagres School premises served as the venue for the meetings, dramas and other activities of Konkani Natak Sabha. At the same time, the search had started for having its own premises for Konkani Natak Sabha. As result, a roadside property at Balmatta Road near Hampankatta was purchased and registered in 1946. Rev. Fr Richard, the Capuchin Provincial Head laid the foundation stone on September 19, 1948″.

“Though the funding for the construction of the building proved to be a difficult task, the Jesuit priest George A. Pai and Capuchin friar Philip Neri took it as a challenge and completed the building construction project with the help of various generous donors. St. Don Bosco was chosen as the patron and guardian of Konkani Natak Sabha. Hence the building came to be known as Don Bosco Hall. The new auditorium was blessed by Rev. Fr Julian D’Souza; Vigar Jeral (Shresta Guru) of Mangalore Diocese on August 19, 1951, and the then collector Sri Rajaratnam inaugurated it. On this occasion, a play ‘Sapan Va Nij Gazal’, written by M. P. D’Sa was performed on the new stage”.

“Over the last 70 years of its existence, Don Bosco Hall has provided a platform for thousands of artists, dramatists, singers and music composers to introduce and showcase their talents. This hall, which has a history of seven decades, is now renovated into a stunning modern theatre. It is all set to host artistic performances by the exponents of theatre, music and dance. There are also facilities for conducting various training programmes in art. 272 Drama and performance artiste’s of 14 different units are members of Konkani Natak Sabha. There is also a women’s unit” added Fr Melwyn D’Souza.

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