As a completely student run event, running Mastana requires a large committee and significant planning. The show is organised and run by a committee of around 25 split into 4 subcommittees, guided by multiple advisors with experience of running previous shows.
What’s it like to be on committee?
Being on Mastana committee is an amazing experience and very different from anything you will experience in Cambridge.You’ll learn about the running and management of a large, professional-standard arts production, meet and work with people beyond your course and college, many of whom will soon feel like family! You’ll learn about yourself – your strengths and weaknesses – and develop skills that will impress employers. In addition to the weekly meetings, the committee regularly organises socials such as formals, dinners and club nights to allow the committee to get to know each other. To top it off, you’ll have a chance to perform on stage in the fabulous committee dance – a real bonding experience!
The committee is split into four subcommittees based on peoples’ strengths, experience and preferences: Acts, Production, Marketing and Finance.
The Mastana Acts Committee comprises of 5-6 dedicated people who enjoy being creative and open minded. Its main task is writing and directing the infamous Mastana play, the highlight of the final show. As part of the committee, you need to come up with a single concept for the play which is engaging, poignant and going to make people laugh about their Indian heritage and culture. Auditions need to be held where you choose the actors who are committed and suit the role. Then comes directing the play itself, once the script is finalised, which usually proves to be the most enjoyable part of the job as you can craft the visual image that you had for the written script with the talented actors at your disposal. Finally, on the day itself, you work with production to make the show a success and make sure the actors don’t get too nervous!
Overall, in my experience, the acts committee, whilst stressful and demanding at times, is probably the most rewarding committee to be a part of. You can see one original idea blossom into comedic reality bringing laughter to the audience which is the most important thing in the end.
Dev Soni, Mastana Acts Committee 2016-2017
This subcommittee consists of about 4-5 people with the ability to be extremely organised and efficient. Production is inarguably the most important subcommittee on show day, making sure acts are all on stage when they need to be, with lighting and sound also being under their control. From editing the script during rehearsals, to fixing mics on the actors on show day, the production team is necessary for the show to run as smoothly as possible. Whilst the acts are what the audience sees, it’s the production team that are running the entire show backstage; it was an absolute honour to work with them.
Mastana was probably one of the highlights of my first year. I got some of my closest friends from Mastana and realised skills and talents I never thought I had before. Any Fresher looking to try something new and leave their comfort zone, (in the most fun way possible), should give Mastana a go! You too could be part of Cambridge’s biggest Indian Cultural Show of the year!
Celine Iswarya Partha, Mastana Production Committee 2016-17
The Marketing Committee again consists of 5-6 people along with 2 advisors and are in charge of ensuring the show is well publicised in Cambridge and beyond to ensure maximum ticket sales and sponsorship. Its main tasks last year included rebranding the logo, sourcing committee hoodies, creating captivating social media posts and devising strategies to ensure maximum sponsorship and ticket sales during Michaelmas term. Then after Christmas, in the build up to the show (which is held in late February or early March), the focus shifted to ticket sales and preparations for the show. This involved making a programme and driving an intensive sales campaign. The sales campaign mainly used social media, but we also did street sales, advertising in college mailing lists and pigeon holes and went to the local community centre to target the non-student market. Then on the day of the show, the marketing committee were all helping out with decorating the venue and the front of house management.
Mastana was definitely the best thing I got involved with in Cambridge as a fresher. Whilst it induced many late nights of planning and stressful moments, it was a great opportunity to meet and get to know people from different colleges and years, studying different subjects whilst also developing valued skills such as organisation, teamwork and man management. Due to the weekly meeting and regular social events, the committee gets to know each other really well, and go onto form the bulk of Indiasoc and Hindusoc so I would encourage any interested to apply for a role on committee!
Nishant Bommayya, Mastana Marketing Committee 2016-17
The Finance Committee typically also consists of 6 people along with 2 advisors and are responsible for obtaining sponsorship, managing ticket pricing and sales and organising catering. During Michelmas term, the main focus was sponsorship: the committee took the responsibility of creating a unique Mastana sponsorship pack, publicising this, sending this round to businesses and potential sponsors and then negotiating custom sponsorship packages to suit individual businesses. In addition, the committee had to decide on appropriate ticketing arrangements and pricing for the show. Then after Christmas, the committee organised the catering for the show while also monitoring ticket sales and sorting the complicated seating arrangements. On the day of the show, we were all helping out with decorating the venue or acting as helpers for the production team.
Mastana was a great way to meet loads of interesting and wonderful people from different colleges, subjects and years so I would definitely encourage anyone interested to get involved! The finance committee was especially rewarding since we were arguably responsible for the shows profit and donation to a charitable cause whilst also being relatively manageable in terms of workload and committment.
Nikhil Gondalia, Mastana Finance Committee 2016-17
In summary, being on Mastana committee offers you a unique opportunity to develop new skills, valued highly by future employers and meet new people who will become some of your best friends! To be on committee we require no prior experience, just an enthusiasm for putting on a great show: if you are interested in being on the 2017-18 committee, please contact our Mastana president Nishant Bommayya (email@example.com)!