Ajoka is Pakistan's largest performing arts organisation.
Ajoka, which pioneered the theatre movement in Pakistan, was set up in 1984 by a group of young people led by Madeeha Gauhar, a TV actress and theatre director.
Ajoka Theatre is a non-profit making non-commercial voluntary democratic organization. It's members come from varied class and social backgrounds.
Ajoka is financially independent. It has also worked on theatre projects with like-minded national and international NGOs, for which expenses are shared.
Ajoka has been committed to the ideals of peace and tolerance, within Pakistan and in the region. Ajoka has collaborated with theatre activists from other countries of South Asia particularly from India & Bangladesh, even in times when any contact across the border was considered treason. The first play performed by Ajoka, "JALOOS" was written by the veteran India revolutionary playwright Badal Sircar. Ajoka has worked with the (late) Safdar Hashmi, Anuradha Kapoor, Ratti Bartholomew, Kamla Bhasin and Kewal Dhaliwal. Ajoka first performed in India in 1989 when "ITT was staged in Delhi. The plays which have performed in India since include "K.ALA MEDA BHES" (in Delhi, Kolkatta and Chandigarh in 1997), "AIK THEE NANI (in Delhi in 1999 & 2003 and Bombay in 2004), "DUKHINI (in Delhi, Chandigarh and Kolkatta in 2000) and "BORDER-BORDER" (in Chandigarh and Amritsar , in 2001 and 2005 respectively). In Nov. 2003, "BULLHA" was first performed in several cities of Indian Punjab including Amritsar, Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Chandigarh and Jammu.
Ajoka has organized Panjpaani Indo-Pak theatre festivals to promote the cause of peace. These festivals were held in 2004-2009. Soon Ajoka plans to launch a Theatre for Peace programme in collaboration with various Pakistani and Indian theatre groups. Ajoka is the only Pakistani group which has performed in India from Srinagar to Kerala and from Amritsar to Kolkata.
To do socially-meaningful theatre and thus contribute to the struggle for a secular, humane, just and egalitarian society in Pakistan.To promote theatre in Pakistan by blending traditional theatre forms with modern techniques and to provide entertainment which has a social relevance.
Ajoka is considered as some kind of a miracle in the Pakistani social and cultural context. For nearly in four decades, Ajoka has waged a war against the forces of obscurantism, extremism and callous commercialism. It has not only linked with the region’s traditional cultural heritage but also infused a new spirit and vibrancy by benefitting from the experiences of the contemporary world of theatre and performing arts.
Ajoka has been a pioneer in many ways: it has established that a socially-relevant quality theatre, which is entertaining as well as educational, is possible in Pakistan, in spite of all the political, social and commercial impediments.Secondly, it has linked our folk heritage with modern techniques and contemporary content. Thirdly, it has practiced a theatre which is modern and not dependent on heavy sets, costumes, and other paraphernalia. And fourthly, it has demonstrated that theatre can play a significant role in spreading the message of peace, love, and enlightenment even in most difficult political or security situations within the country and in the region.
Ajoka's Journey is a journey amazing productivity of the resilience of the people of Pakistan who have survived military dictatorships and ideological tyranny and kept their hopes and dreams alive. It's a tribute to the commitment, creative talent of the members of our team, who ave defied all odds to create and keep alive the miracle called "Ajoka" the decades become socially more representative, has been our major source of strength.
In recent years, Ajoka has responded to the technological challenges of times and demands of the new media. Besides producing telefilms and documentaries, it has entered the field of social media such as facebook Instagram, you tube, online publicity and merchandizing. Ajoka Institute is the latest Ajoka venture where youth is providing hands-on and practice-oriented training in acting, writing, music and film-making.