Contribution of Leimayol Arts Centre in the field of art & culture in Manipur

Irom Calvin
Leimayol Arts Centre, Chingamakha which is popularly known as “LAC” was established in the month of October, 1970 with an aim to promote dance, music, song and drama in Manipur. It originated in a very simple and humble way and now it has completed 51 years of its existence because of the tireless and relentless efforts of the members of this centre.
The main focus of this centre is to promote and preserve the rich heritage of all forms of theatrical art forms. Leimayol Arts Centre, Chingamakha was registered under the Co-operative Societies Act on 14th May, 1971 at the initiative of newly elected Board of Directors. The first constitution of this centre was approved and enforced on 27th November, 1971 with (L) Haobam Ibotombi Singh, (L) Irom Nabakanta Singh and (L) Lourembem Dharmo Singh being elected as the president, secretary and treasurer respectively.
This centre has acquired its own land measuring an area of 0.20 acre near the main road of Chingamakha and has a semi-pucca building having an auditorium of more than 500 seat capacity and a spacious stage. At first, the plot was lying under water-logged and marshy land but later on, it was filled by many truck loads of earth which was brought from the sand of Singjamei Chinga Macha under the directives of (L) Irengbam Tompok Singh, ex-Deputy Chief Minister of Manipur under the initiative of (L) Huidrom Surendra-kumar Singh, ex-president of LAC. The foundation stone for the construction of the auditorium of this centre was drawn by (L) L Mangi Singh, Architect, PWD, Manipur and was laid on 8th June, 1979. (L) Maisnam Jitendra Singh, Retd. Chief Engineer, PWD, Manipur played a pivotal role in constructing the present auditorium hall of this centre.
The first drama which was produced by LAC, Chingamakha was “Bhakta Biramangol” in the year 1971 which was played only by female artistes. It had won 6 prizes including Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Production at the Drama Festival which was organized by Publicity Dept. Manipur. It was directed by (L) Haobam Amuba Singh and was first staged at the Mandop of (L) Kongbrailatpam Thambal Sharma.
In the year 1972, a play called “Leipung Wari” was staged at the Drama Festival which was again organized by the Publicity Dept. Manipur. (L) Mai-snam Mani Singh was awarded the Best Actor of the said Drama festival. Again, in the year 1973 a Drama Festival was organized by Manipur State Kala Academy and a play called “Sangoisana” written and directed by (L) Irom Nabakanta Singh was adjudged as one of the best historical plays in the State. Since then LAC, Chinga-makha has been producing different drama plays of different genres from time to time. So far, it has produced more than 120 drama plays and some of the memorable plays are “Sangoisana”, “Koubrugi Mamomloi”, “Harischandra”, “Jayadev Kavi”, “Certificate”, “Apang Khunao”, “Liklang Pareng”, “Hingningleeba Thawai”, “Mingshel”, “Thonglen Laloitamba”, “Ariba Shatabdi”, “Pirang”, “Khongjomnubi”, “The Bet” etc.
The first ever play of this centre which was played in Hindi version was the “Jeevit Chahane Wala Aatma” which was directed by Laishram Prakash Singh, Ex Director of LAC. It was played at the 6th All India Multi-lingual Drama and Dance Competition which was held at Solan, Himachal Pradesh in the year 2003. A short story called “The Bet” which was written by Anton Chekhov in the year 1889 was abstracted and was rewritten by Manas Maisnam. It was also named as “The Bet” and was played at the 42nd Short Play Competition for Creative Directors, 2011 which was organized by Theatre Centre Manipur (TCM) in collaboration with Manipur State Kala Academy. It was directed by Oinam Sharmila Chanu, Director of LAC, Chinga-makha and had won 6 prizes including Best Production, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Light and 3rd Best Music.
In the year 1999, a Radio Drama Festival was organized by All India Radio (AIR), Imphal and a play called “Chaina Pung” written by (L) Thoudam Nodiya Singh was presented and was regarded as one of the best plays in the State of that time. At present also, The All India Radio (AIR), Imphal also broadcast the drama plays which are being played by this centre on different occasions.
Leimayol Arts Centre, Chingamakha also participated at the State Level Drama Festivals and Competitions which are being organized by different theatre groups of the State under the supervision of Manipur State Kala Academy and Theatre Centre Manipur (TCM).
Some of the drama festivals are Kha Manipur Drama Festival, Short Play Competition for Creative Directors and Rural Theatre Festival.
In the year 2014, LAC, Chingamakha also participated at the Festival of Plays which was jointly organized by Department of Art & Culture and North Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre. In addition to the above drama plays, LAC, Chingamakha has been celebrating Khongjom Day every year on 23rd April ever since its establishment, and the renowned teleplay “Khongjom Lal” which was written by (L) Thoudam Nodiya Singh of this centre was telecast for the first time by Doordarshan Kendra (To be contd)