Ajoka – a story of activism and theatre

Founded by actress Madeeha Gauhar and writer Shahid Nadeem, Ajoka has been part of the struggle for a secular, democratic, humane and egalitarian Pakistan for the last 25 years. Few cultural institutions have been able to thrive in the climate of hostility and apathy towards performing arts that has existed in Pakistan. Ajoka is an exception. Set up by a small group of cultural activists in 1983, during General Zia-ul-Haq’s politically and culturally repressive regime, Ajoka has struggled against very heavy odds.

It has not only survived, but has in fact grown from strength to strength. It has dealt with bold subjects, experimented with technique and blended contemporary reality with traditional forms. Their content ranges from Moghul history (such as their plays Dara and Bulleh Shah) to the legacy of partition (Border Border), and satire and comedy (BURQAVAGANZA, America Chalo).

Today Ajoka is an internationally respected name in the world of theatre and is one of Pakistan leading cultural and literary institutions.

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