Noted theatre and film personality M. K. Raina on Monday said a university is a safety valve for a democratic system "where there is a space for youngsters to create ideas and work on innovations".
He added that folk music, theatre and other cultural activities are symbolic of a composite society and these arts need to be researched.
Raina was speaking at the inaugural function of the three - day international conference of Indian Society for Theatre Research (ISTR) on "travelling performance and theatre cultures: Assessing Praxis, Paradigms and Perspectives" at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
Raina also delivered a plenary address on "Theatre in Conflict: A Case of Kashmir".
He urged the AMU administration to start a separate department for theatre studies.
Presiding over the function, AMU Vice Chancellor Lt.
General Zameer Uddin Shah (retd) said it is imperative for theatre professionals and researchers to accept necessary changes, which are taking place in today's world.
He added that the existing cinema world in India and other countries has a huge contribution from theatre personalities.
Shah further said that there is, however, a need for theatre to become more versatile.
Ravi Chaturvedi, Founder President, ISTR addressed the gathering by providing insights on travelling performances and its evolution in India.
David Whitton of Lancaster University in Britain said theatre performances and plays have always been a part of mainstream education and humans have the tendency to these cultural activities in their daily lives.
Boris Dausa Pastor of Intitut Del Teater at Barcelona in Spain said Indian folk cultural activities including the street plays and theatre has a huge impact on him and he is particularly interested in exploring more from the folk theatre.
Delivering the key - note address, Dattatreya Dutt of Rabindra Bharti University, Kolkata talked about the history of theatre culture and the obstacles faced.
Vibha Sharma, Organising Secretary of the Conference, talked about the focus areas of the Conference, which included deliberations on Jatra, Nautanki, Chaon and Sufi folk, among other topics.