Theatre, a collaborative form of fine art – where actors and actresses present their experiences either real or imaginary before an audience, often from a stage – is widely considered a dying art, as the younger generations get sucked into their digital existences and have little or no time for such “theatricals” (no pun intended). Gone are the days of yore, when campus productions were the norm, often providing the steppingstone for artists who would one day rule the roost.Today, while some campus fests do include theatre in their list of competition, the reluctant entries and the lacklustre performances leave a lot to be desired – especially the need to popularise the art form among the young.One campus, where “theatrics” (again, no pun intended) is not only recognised with due honour but is also actively encouraged is the Bhawanipur Education Society College.The BESC presentations – in terms of quality of thought, content and execution – are testimony of this faith that has been reposed on the art form, their presentations often towering head and shoulders above the rest – or shall we call them, the ordinary, the theatre of the absurd? Th Theatre Festival (27 th and 28 th of February, 2018 at Gyan Manch and the BESC campus) was a case in point.The THK Jain College and JDBI, which took the overall second and third places in the event, were surpassed, by far by the Champions BESC.They also walked away with the Best Director’s Award, while that of the Best Actor went to BIBS and the Best Actress to Ashutosh College.On the first day, the major attractions were mimicry, mono-acting and stage-play.The ceremonial lamps were lit. Prof Dilip Shah, the Dean of Student Affairs of the Bhawanipur Education Society College (BESC) shared the passion for theatre that he holds in his heart with the participants from the twelve colleges who had trooped in and those present in the audience – encouraging them to take one Act at a time as they move forward, as “all the world” he quoted “is a stage”! Uma Jhunjhunwala, Director, Little Thespians and well-known theatre personality Zahid Hussain were the honoured judges for the day.Harleen Kaur, a student of BESC anchored the two-day festival.In Mimicry, BESC took the gold, followed by Ashutosh College.BESC Team II took the bronze.The performances were generally of high quality though the format often forced the participants to take the banal way out.Not that the audience, in splits most of the time, complained.In Mono Acting, THK Jain College took both the first and the second positions, such powerful were their portrayals.Both the performances were above par and deserved the laurels. However, it was the Stage Play that had the audience break out in spontaneous applause – especially for the winning performance by BIBS.Their content was everything everyone shies away from – LGBT rights, child abuse, paedophilia.Their execution was literally “on your face”, as the powerful narration not only touched raw nerves in the audience, but raised as many questions as an audience, in classic denial, sought to run away from.After the spontaneous standing ovation, the fate of the winners was sealed, with BIBS taking top honours.Ashutosh College and BESC were the others who made it to the podium.The second day too witnessed a surfeit of activities with the action shifting to the BESC campus.Arush Sengupta, noted theatre personality and Subhendu Mukhopadhyay filmmaker were the guest judges for the day.Board Room Drama – which seeks to expand the horizons of theatre by breaking down its restricting boundaries, was the highlight of the morning.Participants were provided with different spaces within the college campus within whose confines they were expected to make their creativity flower.The THK Jain College emerged winners, followed by JDBI and the BESC.Then the artists took to the street – not literally, for the event was Street Play.Participants from eight colleges thrashed it out, each seeking to out-act the others with an equally receptive crowd cheering them on.In the end the BESC play, which paid tribute to India’s guardians – our brave heart Jawans in the borders – edged passed the others.THK Jain College took the silver, while the bronze went to the NSHM College.The Short Film making competition was the final one before the curtains were to be dropped and though the overall winners list was palpably evident, the curiosity was high among the participants and their cheer leaders. In the end, BESC won the laurels.For the second spot there was a tie with Sri Shikshayatan and BESC Team II being adjudged the joint winners.