In a matter of four months only -- since it was created -- Olomopolo Media has come up as a prominent arts management and entertainment company, headquartered in Lahore. A project of Kanwal Khoosat, the daughter of veteran actor Erfan Khoosat and her partners Iram Sana, Fyque Nadeem and Vicky Zhuang Yi-Yin, the company’s stated aim is to "bring back quality entertainment in all possible forms to the society."
So far, Olomopolo has conducted successful theatre workshops with well-renowned actors and directors such as Nimra Bucha, Sarmad Khoosat and Sania Saeed.
"Every time I’ve to get my friends together our only options would be to eat or watch a movie and then eat again," says Vicky. "You don’t hear people say, ‘Let’s go watch a play. We [at Olomopolo] want them to know there’s a lot more interesting things to do than just eat out."
In Lahore, Olomopolo is based at Olo Junction which is the hub of all their events and activities. The small yet cozy studio is big enough to accommodate at least 20 people for an activity such as dance or theatre workshop.
"This is something we could not have done were we given any ‘commercial’ space," adds Kanwal. "Hence we created this small studio of our own; it’s a very comfy and intimate setting."
Another of Olomopolo’s ‘brands’ is OloTotolo which offers interactive storytelling, arts and craft and live music activity for young children. Every Sunday, the Olomopolo team holds its OloTotolo session for kids who generally come from different backgrounds. Well known actors are invited to play with the kids; it turns out to be an interactive activity hugely enjoyed by all.
Olomopolo also has the credit of reviving the culture of storytelling. Largely for kids, the storytelling team engages people of all ages to further raise awareness for this dying art.
The response, according to Kanwal, has been "great, not just in Lahore but in other major cities of Pakistan such as Islamabad and Karachi."
More recently, the Olo team has extended its activities to Peshawar. An Olo Tatolo was recently hosted in a school in KPK as well.
Olomopolo has also involved a music band which has volunteered to work with the team for gigs. They recently arranged a marathon showing of the Lord of the Rings trilogy at the OloJunction which was a big hit with the Tolkien fans.
As a side venture, the Olo team has been collecting books for libraries to be opened up in government schools adopted by different organisations.
OloFactory is where the Olo team holds all its dance, theatre, screenwriting and poetry workshops. Every week, there is something or the other taking place at the Olo Junction -- be it a poetry session organised in collaboration with the British Council or a dance workshop by the talented Suhaee Abro or Wahab Shah.
A reading of Manto by Sarmad Khoosat was another Olo event that was very well received by the audience.
A workshop on the fundamentals of screenwriting was a huge success. It helped to educate aspiring screenwriters and even those who had no previous experience in the field.
At the end of all such interactive classes and workshops, the students or participants are supposed to showcase their talents and what they gained from the sessions.
The Olo Factory does not limit people by age. In the words of Vicky, "We once had a 16-year-old and a 45-year-old in the same workshop!"
Early this year, the Olo team collaborated with NCA to put up a play that starred Nimra Bucha and Sarmad Khoosat. Written by Mark Raven Hill, the play was titled, ‘Shoot/Get Treasure/ Repeat.’
In the final analysis, Olomopolo is a self-funded organisation with no commercial gains. However, for big events such as the play mentioned above, various corporate sponsors came to back the Olo team.
"We aren’t going into profits right now but we hope we will, in the future," says Kanwal. "We just need to give it that extra little push to bring it out on an even larger scale."