In 2013, during my ARThink South Asia Arts Management Fellowship, I developed the idea of The Pickle Factory responding to the crying need for a home for dance presentation and development in India. The country has plenty of venues, but most run as commercial ventures for hire with little or no programming direction. While some dedicated venues exist for theatre practice, there is no venue mandated to curate, programme and develop dance work.
Who We are
A hub for the practice, discourse and presentation of dance and movement-based work in India
We are inspired by and will constantly revisit the question of what it means to create, share and reflect on such work in a shifting and uniquely Indian context, while being closely connected to an international network of similar endeavours. We will actively work with, for and through performers, audiences and support systems towards a vibrant, invested, and critical culture and community.
The core team – Vikram Iyengar, Ruchira Das, Anubha Fatehpuria, Dana Roy – bring together decades of artistic and managerial experience in India and abroad, and are connected to a strong and diverse national and international network of artists, arts professionals and arts organisations.
Why we exist
The Pickle Factory responds to the lack of infrastructural and inspirational spaces and opportunities in India to
* explore and challenge artistic practice
* share and exchange creative ideas and values
* meet and nurture current and potential audiences
What we will do
- Provide regular performance opportunities for practitioners to experiment with and expand their body of work
- Offer residencies, workshops and training involving local, national and international practitioners evolving a diversity of perspectives
- Create and implement stimulating arts engagement programmes to develop interested and discerning audiences
How we will begin
We begin operations in 2018
- a festival in February-March with an exciting programme of performances, works-in-progress, artist-audience interactions, discussions and workshops
- an intensive workshop in July, and an artist residency in October, where artists will focus on research, creation, training, and exchange
Over the next three years The Pickle Factory will follow a nomadic model, entering and activating various old buildings in the architecturally textured fabric of Calcutta, converting them into pop-up spaces for the arts. Our aim is to establish a permanent venue in such a converted space – the first of its kind in India dedicated to the movement arts.
The Pickle Factory venues for 2018
Architecturally unique, Calcutta offers various old, disused buildings that can be converted into arts spaces. Our venues for 2018 are two such spaces emblematic of the culturally rich history of Calcutta –
- Gem Cinema – the first 70mm standalone cinema in Calcutta, now disused
- Saklat Bhavan – an unused Parsi community centre and tenement building
The Pickle Factory will bring internationally acclaimed dance and movement work into both these spaces for the first time.
Where we locate ourselves
Calcutta has a strong history of socio-cultural activity and arts experimentation, and a unique and varied pastiche of meeting and morphing histories, times, traditions and communities. The city’s strength has always been in the currency of ideas and imagination rather than that of business and economics. Home to a large population of artists, it has a hungry audience for art.
The Pickle Factory will be an anchor around which such a community, area and city come to life, part of an international circuit of such vital and vibrant spaces.