conversations

3rd July 2021( 11:00 AM )

Writing Theatre

Amitosh Nagpal, Annie Zaidi , Ashish Pathak and Purva Naresh Moderated by Vivek Mansukhani

New writing has been the order of the day, reflective of society and its challenges, representative of a new generation, past traditions and a sense of belonging, migration and space. Playwrights come together to discuss the process of creating new writing and the challenges that they face in the evolving age of the virtual world.

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Amitosh Nagpal

Amitosh Nagpal, a multi-hyphenate NSD graduate is probably one of the most sought after writers in the industry today. Amitosh has to his credit many accomplishments. He has himself directed and acted in plays alongside many television commercials and portrayed intense roles in films like Dabangg and Rangrezz. His first major production in Mumbai was a musical directed by Swanand Kirkire "Aao Saathi Sapna Dekhein". In 2017, he wrote and directed a light comedy play named Talli Tuesday which was loved by the audience. After Gulaab Gang, Hindi Medium and more he adapted Shakespeare's Twelfth Night into the record-breaking Piya Behrupiya - perhaps India's most celebrated theatre production.

Annie Zaidi

Annie Zaidi is the author of several books including Bread, Cement, Cactus: A memoir of belonging and dislocation; Prelude to a Riot; Gulab; Love Stories # 1 to 14; she is also co-author of The Good Indian Girl. Annie is the editor of Unbound: 2000 Years of Indian Women's Writing and Equal Halves and a recipient of the Tata Literature Live Award for fiction (2020) as well as the Hindu Playwright Award (2018) for Untitled 1. Her radio script ‘Jam’ was named regional (South Asia) winner for the BBC’s International Playwriting Competition (2011).

Ashish Pathak

Ashish Pathak a writer, theatre director and acting teacher, is the founder of the Theatre Troupe - Samagam Rangmandal. He has written around 15 Plays, more than 20 short stories and directed over 20 full length plays including Agarbatti (META 2019 winner), Popcorn, Red Frock, Dakait Chuhe. His popular directed plays include Agni aur Barkha (by Girish Karnad), The House Of Bernarda Alba (by Federecio Garcia Lorca),Vasansi Jeernani (by Mahesh Elkunchwar ), Mr. Puntila And His Man Matti (from the original by Bertolt Brecht) and many more. He’s been invited as a mentor by various institutions like the National School Of Drama, Rangayana, Madhya Pradesh School of Drama and the Raza Foundation.

Purva Naresh

Purva Naresh is an award-winning playwright and a theatre producer. She received the Laadli Media Award supported by UNFP for Best Play on Gender Sensitisation in 2012 for her play Ok Tata Bye Bye and recently the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puruskar for young theatre artists by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. She has also won the Safdar Hashmi Puraskar from the Sangeet Natak Akademi UP. Purva was listed among India’s 50 powerful women by VERVE in 2013 and among the top under 40 stars of MUMBAI in a survey by The Hindustan Times in 2014.

Vivek Mansukhani

Vivek Mansukhani, an actor and director, is the Founder and Artistic Director of the theatre company Scene Stealers. He has directed several acclaimed productions including Funny Money, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), An Absolute Turkey, Rumours, Identities, Strictly Dandia. His acting credits include Animals Out Of Paper, The Perfect Evening, Art, Bravely Fought The Queen, Tara, Othello : A Play in Black and White. He was formerly Director, Arts  India at the British Council and currently heads the Institute of International Education in India.

3rd July 2021( 07:00 PM )

Directing Virtually

Bruce Guthrie, Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry, Quasar Thakore Padamsee and Sunil Shanbag Moderated by Asad Lalljee

Theatre directors come together to discuss how they addressed the challenge of the digital divide and directed their shows virtually during the lockdown with the absence of physical rehearsals. How did their workshop process change; how did they adapt to the new small screen; did their actors tone down their performances? How did they create magic? Join us for a free-wheeling conversation around creativity in the virtual world.

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Sunil Shanbag

Sunil Shanbag is a Mumbai-based theatre director and producer. He is the co-founder and artistic director of Theatre Arpana and Tamaasha Theatre. Over the past 45 years, Sunil’s work across various genres of theatre practice has been engaging with and presenting the complex nature of contemporary India, on stage as well as in various alternative performance spaces. His work spans across themes and issues that concern modern Indian society, across class, caste, gender and other inequalities. Major productions include Cotton 56, Polyester 84, S*x, M*rality, and Cens*rship, Stories in a Song, Loretta, Blank Page, Words Have Been Uttered,  and most recently, a re-imagining of the 1945 iconic play by Prithviraj Kapoor, Deewar

Asad Lalljee

Asad Lalljee is SVP, Essar Group; CEO of Avid Learning, a public programming platform; and Curator, Royal Opera House, Mumbai. Under Asad’s leadership, AVID has distinguished itself with a variety of arts and cultural programmes and is currently at the forefront of India’s cultural hub. In 2016, he was appointed curator of the newly restored Royal Opera House, Mumbai for which he has designed a robust programme. In 2018, Asad was inducted into the FICCI Art and Culture Committee.

Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry

Presently Professor Emeritus at the Panjab University, Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry has an MA in the History of Arts as well as a diploma from the National School of Drama.  In 1984, she moved to Chandigarh where she set up her own theatre company called The Company. She has also been the Chairperson and taught in the Department of Indian Theatre, Panjab University. Neelam is the recipient of several awards, including the  Padmashree in 2011.

Quasar Thakore Padamsee

Quasar is a theatre-holic and lover of all things theatrical. Since 1999, he has directed and produced over 25 plays with QTP, including Every Brilliant Thing, A Peasant of El Salvador, Project S.T.R.I.P., So Many Socks, Minorities and many others about contemporary social concerns. Internationally, he has worked on Tim Supple’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is a founding member of Thespo - a youth theatre initiative. At present, he is serves  on the festival committee of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai International LitFest

Bruce Guthrie

Bruce is the Head of Theatre & Film at the National Centre for the Performing Arts.  He has directed plays and musicals in London, New York, and all over the world. He has worked with several award-winning actors, athletes and royalty (including British Lions Captain Sam Warburton OBE and the Prince of Wales) on large-scale charity events, fundraisers, and concerts. Bruce trained as a Director at the National Theatre Studio and under directors Howard Davies, Sir Richard Eyre, Deborah Warner & Sir Sam Mendes.

25th June 2021( 06:00 PM )

Mahabharata: Reimagining an epic

Anurupa Roy, Mohammed Shameem, Gunduraju , Avinash Kumar and Atul Sinha Moderated by Sanjoy K. Roy

The retelling of the eternal epic has fascinated legions of artists across millennia. The META-winning play Mahabharata has re-imagined our powerful epic, using puppets, multimedia, animation and actors and creating a magical visual landscape, both stunning and evocative of an age-old story. In conversation with director Anurupa Roy and her actors and creators, we unpack the intent, method and creative process that went into this magical production.

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Anurupa Roy

Anurupa Roy is a puppeteer, puppet theatre director and puppet designer. She is the founder and managing trustee of The Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust, Delhi. She has a diploma in puppet theatre from the University of Stockholm and has been trained in traditional glove puppetry from the School of Traditional Glove Puppetry in Naples. She has been a guest faculty at the World Arts and Cultures at UCLA. A recipient of the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar – a National Award for contribution to puppet theatre by the Government of India - she is currently one of the Trustees of UNIMA puppeteers Trust India, the Indian chapter of the Union Internationale de la Marionette.

Mohammed Shameem

Mohammed Shameem started exploring puppetry at the age of 15, under the guidance of Shri Kapil Dev, Director of Samarpan, who mentored him with the basics of puppetry. He learned sculpture under the guidance of internationally proclaimed sculptor Shri K.S. Radhakrishnan. He continues to learn puppetry under Dadi D. Pudumjee at the Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust. He has carried out several shows and productions under Pudumjee's guidance. He has also been trained by the Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust under the mentorship of Anurupa Roy.

Gunduraju

Gunduraju is a traditional leather puppeteer from Karnataka. He has got 50 years of experience and has performed more than 25000 shows at a national and international level. He is a Jnana Vijnana Awardee by the Karnataka Janapada Yakshgana Academy and a Rangabharathi Awardee from Nataka Academy.

Avinash Kumar

Avinash Kumar is a dancer, puppeteer, and choreographer. He has trained in a variety of dance forms – Chau, Contemporary, Jazz & Bollywood. He honed his puppeteering skills from Dadi Pudumjee and Anurupa Roy. He has performed extensively in India and overseas. He has also trained in Modern Contemporary Dance under the guidance of Astad Deboo. Some of his performances include ‘Interpreting Tagore’ with the Astad Deboo Foundation and ‘A Bollywood Love Story’ with Teamwork Arts.

Atul Sinha

Atul is an animator, painter, puppeteer & a sand artist. He did his Ph.D from Jamia University, his first Master’s from New Zealand in Computer Graphic Designing and a second Master’s from India in Drawing and Painting. Since 2007, he has been working as an Sr. Assistant Professor at AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia University, where he was instrumental in starting an animation course offered as a Master’s programme. During 2017, he did a live sand art performance for the WHO on depression. In November 2017, his puppets and puppet stop-motion animation were curated at the IGNCA.

Sanjoy K. Roy

Sanjoy K. Roy, an entrepreneur of the arts, is the Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 33 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across 40 cities across the world including the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival. He is a founder trustee of Salaam Baalak Trust, providing support services for street and working children in Delhi. Roy works closely with various industry bodies and the government on policy issues in the cultural sector in India, and has lectured and collaborated with several international universities.

18th June 2021( 06:00 PM )

The Tragi–comic Art of Clowning

Rajat Kapoor, Aadar Malik, Faezeh Jalali, Rytasha Rathore, Cyrus Sahukar and Vinay Pathak Moderated by Puja Sarup

‘I Don't Like It, As You Like It’, an adaptation of Shakespeare's ‘As You Like It’, explores the concepts of identity and relationships and how one affects the other through the tool of the play-within-a-play. At its heart lies the unique, often tragi-comic and yet deeply profound meaning clowns have traditionally brought into a narrative, when they flit between onlooker and protagonist. The art of clowning and mime and being cleverly stupid, inviting the audience to laugh at oneself, has always been the purest form of a collective theatrical experience. This conversation brings in these & more.

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Rajat Kapoor

Rajat Kapoor knew very early on that he wanted to be in theatre and make films. Better known as an actor, Rajat is essentially a filmmaker, theatre director and writer for whom theatre is a lifelong passion. He is one of the founder members of the Delhi-based group Chingari. Some of the plays he has directed over the last 30 years are: Deathwatch, Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf? Hamlet- the Clown Prince, Nothing like Lear, What’s Done is Done! and I Don’t like it-as you like it.

Rajat is also a three-time winner of the National Award for Cinema, some of his films are Kapoor & Sons, Monsoon Wedding, Dil Chahta Hai, Mithya, Bheja Fry among others.

Aadar Malik

Aadar Malik is an actor, musician, stand-up comedian, improviser, having performed all over India and internationally for his shows. He is a headlining comic at The Comedy Store, and The Canvas Laugh Club in Mumbai. Being a singer-songwriter, he often mixes songs and musical comedy as part of his standup routines. Starting off in theatre with Barry John’s ‘Baghdad ka Ghulam’, he also co-wrote the play Papier Mache Petals, which was one of the four plays selected from all over India for the Thespo festival. Aadar’s comedy group also produced the Indian version of Reduced Shakespeare Company’s, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, which premiered at the NCPA’s Centrestage festival in Mumbai.

Faezeh Jalali

Faezeh is the Founder and Artistic Director of FATS Thearts, Mumbai. She is an award-winning actor, director, and writer, as well as a teacher, choreographer, activist and aerialist. She has a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Performance from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Faezeh is the recipient of the prestigious Tanveer Natyadharme Puraskar 2017 for her contribution to the field.  She has also been a META awardee for her plays/performances in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Faezeh has been working professionally  for several years on stage (toured internationally), in film, TV and, more recently, in web-series.

Rytasha Rathore

Rytasha juggles between acting and podcasting.

Armed with a BA in Acting, she hopes to play a myriad of characters in stories across the world in the hope of making people feel less alone. You can listen to her innermost thoughts on Agla Station: Adulthood (available wherever you get your podcasts). You can also see some of her acting talents  on Netflix’s Masaba Masaba and on Amazon Prime.

Cyrus Sahukar

Cyrus Sahukar is known for his brilliant comic wit, satirical comedy shows and his ability to not just hold but also engage an audience - whether on radio, television, films or live events — Cyrus Sahukar has always been a popular face in the Indian media. Cyrus had carved his own niche and literally spearheaded the youth comedy genre, by hosting and fronting some of the best comedy content on Indian television.

Vinay Pathak

Vinay Pathak is a Mumbai-based actor-writer who’s been actively involved in Indian cinema and theatre for over two decades. Vinay is a theatre graduate from the State University of New York. Be it comic indulgence (in films like Bheja Fry, Khosla ka Ghosla, Chalo Dilli, Dasvidania, Rab ne bana di Jodi etc.) or nuanced character sketches (in Gaur Hari Dastan, Johnny Gaddar, Island City, Dust, Badlapur or the recent Chintu ka Birthday), Vinay believes in total honesty to his craft, be it theatre, film or TV. His critically-acclaimed solo performance piece, Nothing Like Lear, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, has been travelling across the world to many venues and theatre festivals.

Puja Sarup

Puja Sarup is the co- founder of Patchworks Ensemble, a Mumbai-based theatre company. At Patchworks Ensemble, she has co- directed, co-written and acted in the award-winning show ‘Ila’, as well as the critically acclaimed drag king show ‘Gentlemen's Club AKA Tape’. Most recently, she has also devised and co-directed - ‘Fly by Night’ and 'Shikaar'. Having been active in theatre since 2003, her stage credits include ‘Hamlet - The Clown Prince’ (for which she won the META). Her film work includes ‘Yeh Ballet', ‘The Sky is Pink', 'Sui Dhaga', ' Rangoon', 'That Girl in Yellow Boots’. Puja is also an acting coach and enjoys working with children as well.

11th June 2021( 06:00 PM )

Akshayambara: The eternal power impasse of gender

Sharanya Ramprakash, Prasad Cherkady, Surabhi J Herur and Surendranath Suri Moderated by Sanjoy K. Roy

Power is an aphrodisiac and also forms the very basis of most relationships, be it between governments and their people, or men and women! Akshayamabara explores the very essence of this deep-rooted dynamic, and brings to the fore, through the ‘yakshagana’ tradition, this eternal conflict -  even as Duryodhana, played by a woman, disrobes Draupadi, played by man. We delve deep into the psyches of these two principal characters and understand the traditions that dictate societal norms.

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Sharanya Ramprakash

Sharanya Ramprakash is a theatre-maker whose work experiments with language, tradition and gender. She writes, acts, directs and collaborates with a range of forms, communities and theatre makers locally, nationally and internationally. Her latest work includes her Kannada play Akshayambara (2105 – present), a critical exploration of gender and masculinity in Yakshagana with a contemporary feminist lens. Sharanya is an INLAKS scholar and member of Lincoln Centre Director’s Lab, New York.

Prasad Cherkady

Prasad Cherkady is a theatre practitioner, Yakshagana performer, and filmmaker. Having been engaged with  practicing Yakshagana and theatre for over 17 years, his works revolve around modern and traditional performing arts. His currently active plays include Akshayambara, Sandhana, Shakespeare Naataka Prakarana. He also teaches and choreographs the Yakshagana art form.

Surabhi J Herur

Surabhi Jyotirmayee Herur is a theatre practitioner, filmmaker, writer and poet. Her work centres on the observation of the human mindscape around the themes of invisibility and privilege, and the constructs that hold them. She has a considerable body of theatrical work to her name, a few award-winning performances, and documentary films covering topics ranging from gender to water. More recently, she worked as the assistant director during the production of Akshayambara, and as dramaturg in the play Nava.

Surendranath Suri

Surendranath (Suri)  is a graduate of the National School of Drama and a w riter of short stories, plays and a director. Suri is a well-known name in Kannada theatre for over three decades. He has adapted many classics of world theatre from Ibsen to Shakespeare, Brecht, Frisch, and Chekov, setting them in contemporary Karnataka to great success. He was also the artistic director of Ranga Shankara. He is a recipient of the Ibsen Scholarship (2019).

Sanjoy K. Roy

Sanjoy K. Roy, an entrepreneur of the arts, is the Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 33 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across 40 cities across the world including the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival. He is a founder trustee of Salaam Baalak Trust, providing support services for street and working children in Delhi. Roy works closely with various industry bodies and the government on policy issues in the cultural sector in India, and has lectured and collaborated with several international universities.

4th June 2021( 06:00 PM )

The Smokers’ Corner: Engendering friendships; challenging power?

Akarsh Khurana, Adhir Bhat, Shubhrajyoti Barat and Siddharth Kumar Moderated by Deepika Deshpande Amin

Power politics & perceptions in the work place play out in all offices across the world. The young, hungry and restless look to make a mark, often in conflict with their more sagacious seniors who are wary of taking risk and allowing for change. Dhumrapaan - smoking - is an exercise that makes smokers invariably bond on balconies, restrooms or smoking rooms, allowing for conversations across established power, gender & generational structures, creating unlikely friendships. In conversation with the writer, director and actors of this META-winning play, we unpack relationships and workplace tensions around age-old issues of professionalism, experience and ambition.

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Akarsh Khurana

Akarsh Khurana is a theatre and film actor, director, and writer. Also one of India’s leading theatre producers in India, he has produced over 70 plays in the last 20 years, of which he has directed over 25. Akarsh won the award for Best Director twice at Thespo (India's premier youth theatre festival) for his early work and went on to be nominated five times at a national level for Best Director (at META), and won once for Stage Design. Outside of theatre, Akarsh has written screenplays for a few feature films, directed lots of web sketches, six cineplays, a television movie, two web series and three feature films.

Adhir Bhat

Adhir Bhat is a Mumbai-based actor and writer. Originally from Kashmir, Adir has played major roles in more than 60 full-length theatre productions in the past 15 years, consisting of plays in three different languages. His theatrical collaborations include work with Shefali Shah, Akarsh Khurana, Makrand Deshpande, Ratna Pathak Shah and Rajit Kapur, to name a few. Adhir has been a part of 3 plays that have won Best Play at META. Adhir won Best Original Script at META for his dark comedy Dhumrapaan. Adhir also writes for TV, web series and films. In 2020, he had 2 new releases - the hit "Bandish Bandits" series - an Amazon original and "Betaal" - on Netflix. He’s currently acting in a flagship series for Lionsgate Entertainment’s new OTT platform.

Shubhrajyoti Barat

Shubhrajyoti Barat is a film and theatre actor. He began his journey in the early nineties with workshops with eminent theatre luminaries. He joined Ekjute Theatre Group headed by Nadira Zaheer Babbar in 1992 when he acted, designed lights, sets and music for most of the Ekjute productions between 1994 and 2005. Shubhro won the META as an actor in Kaumudi. He directed his first play based on Tagore’s Shesher Kobita with Tom Alter in 2001. He has also directed an adaptation of Arthur Miller’s Price (2011) and Song of the Swan (2014). He is known for his acting in Rukh, Karwaan, Article 15, Madam Chief Minister, Saina and Mirzapur.

Siddharth Kumar

Siddharth Kumar started his writing journey as a playwright. His very first play, The Interview, which he wrote when he was 26, went on to perform over a 100 shows across 26 cities in India, and won a bunch of awards. Versions of it were also performed in Johannesburg and Prague.. He has since written  four plays, including one for children. Siddharth began screenwriting with MTV, and followed it up with Boygiri, a web series for ALT Balaji. He has developed screenplays for UTV and Fox, and currently has a film in development with TIPS, as well as series with Amazon Prime, BBC, and Voot.

Deepika Deshpande Amin

Deepika Deshpande Amin is a well known theatre, film and tv actress. She has worked with celebrated directors like Barry John, Lillette Dubey and Mahesh Dattani and directed three plays herself. Her film career sees her effortlessly crossing genres from critically acclaimed films like Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi and Gone Kesh to popular hits like Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. She bagged the Best Actress award for her role in the TV series Farmaan (1994-95). Her theatre credits include plays like Kanyadaan by Vijay Tendulkar and Wedding Album and Boiled Beans on Toast by Girish Karnad, among many others which were performed in India and abroad.

28th May 2021( 06:00 PM )

Gasha: Exodus from the valley of strife

Abhishek Majumdar, Irawati Karnik, Adhir Bhat and Sandeep Shikhar Moderated by Sanjoy K. Roy

Theatre is almost always reflective of society and the conflicts therein. In India, Kashmir has been at the centre of an interline battle being waged for the hearts and the minds of its people. Gasha looks at the lives of ordinary people and how their world was upended in an ongoing conflict which had led to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. In conversation with the director, writer and the actors of Gasha, we explore their motivation, stagecraft and reactions to this vital piece of theatre.

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Abhishek Majumdar,

Abhishek Majumdar is a scenographer, playwright and theatre director. He is Associate Professor of Arts Practice at NYU Abu Dhabi and artistic director of Nalanda Arts Studio. His works have been produced around the world and translated to several languages. He has created works for the Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre, Playco New York, Ranga Shankara Bangalore,  Jan Natya Manch Delhi, Yale Repertory. Currently he is on commission with theatres in London, New York , Bangalore  and Abu Dhabi.

Irawati Karnik

Irawati Karnik is a writer, playwright, screenwriter, translator, dramaturg and actor who writes in Marathi, Hindi and English. She worked extensively with the theatre  group 'Awishkar' (founded by the late Vijay Tendulkar), in close collaboration with Chetan Datar and Satyadev Dubey. She wrote Gasha (Hindi), directed by Abhishek Majumdar. She co-wrote Sex, Morality and Censorship (Hindi) directed by Sunil Shanbag, The A Casting (English, later translated into German), C Sharp C Blunt (English) directed by Sophia Stepf (Flinttheater, Berlin), and Thook (Hindi)  which later travelled worldwide. A number of her translations have been published by Oxford University Press. She has been awarded the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar by the Sangeet Natak Academy and the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad Award for her non-fiction writing about Marathi theatre.

Adhir Bhat

Adhir Bhat is a Mumbai-based actor and writer. Originally from Kashmir, Adir has played major roles in more than 60 full-length theatre productions in the past 15 years, consisting of plays in three different languages. His theatrical collaborations include work with Shefali Shah, Akarsh Khurana, Makrand Deshpande, Ratna Pathak Shah and Rajit Kapur, to name a few. Adhir has been a part of 3 plays that have won Best Play at META. Adhir won Best Original Script at META for his dark comedy Dhumrapaan. Adhir also writes for TV, web series and films. In 2020, he had 2 new releases - the hit "Bandish Bandits" series - an Amazon original and "Betaal" - on Netflix. He’s currently acting in a flagship series for Lionsgate Entertainment’s new OTT platform.

Sandeep Shikhar

Sandeep Shikhar has been an actor, writer and theatre practitioner for two decades. He has acted on national and international stages under reputed directors. He was the co-founder of the Indian Ensemble theatre group and Artistic Director of Hindi language at the Bhasha Centre for Performing Arts, Bengaluru. He is a core member of Anjuman, a Hindi-Urdu Writers Collective in Bengaluru. He is also a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, New York. He is a three-time nominee for Best Actor in a Lead Role at META.

Sanjoy K. Roy

Sanjoy K. Roy, an entrepreneur of the arts, is the Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 33 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across 40 cities across the world including the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival. He is a founder trustee of Salaam Baalak Trust, providing support services for street and working children in Delhi. Roy works closely with various industry bodies and the government on policy issues in the cultural sector in India, and has lectured and collaborated with several international universities.

22nd May 2021( 07:00 PM )

Indian Drama in English: The Beginnings

Professor Ananda Lal in conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy

Edited by academic, theatre critic, translator and head of the Writers Workshop, Professor Ananda Lal, Indian Drama in English: The Beginnings has three plays - ‘The Persecuted’ by Krishna Mohan Banerjee, ‘Rizia’ by Michael Madhusudan Dutt, and ‘Kaminee’ (anonymous). Since the beginning of Indian theatre in English, dramatists who wrote in English made strong socio-political statements that are relevant even today. For the first time, these three fascinating works by powerful playwrights of 19th-century Bengal have been unearthed and reprinted, enhanced by a general introduction, separate introductions to each play, and explanatory notes. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy Professor Lal discusses the meticulous research and archival exploration that led him to unearth these three expressions of drama that were never performed as they were considered to represent dissenting opinion and not 'Box Office' material!

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Ananda Lal

Prof. Ananda Lal learnt theatre hands-on with the Kolkata group The Red Curtain, which he joined after completing school in 1973. He has a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Illinois. Prof. Lal retired from Jadavpur University in 2017 as Professor of English after a long career in academics. At Jadavpur, he also taught drama and introduced a practical theatre course in which he directed students for public performances for 25 years. He began writing on theatre in 1978 in the Kolkata newspaper The Hindustan Standard and as theatre critic of The Telegraph and the Times of India, he has reviewed more than 3000 productions. His books include Rabindranath Tagore: Three Plays, Rasa: The Indian Performing Arts, Shakespeare on the Calcutta Stage, The Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre and Indian Drama in English: The Beginnings. He has also directed over 30 theatre productions and translated into English plays by Tagore and Utpal Dutt.

Sanjoy K. Roy

Sanjoy K. Roy, an entrepreneur of the arts, is the Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 33 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across 40 cities across the world including the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival. He is a founder trustee of Salaam Baalak Trust, providing support services for street and working children in Delhi. Roy works closely with various industry bodies and the government on policy issues in the cultural sector in India, and has lectured and collaborated with several international universities.

23rd April 2021( 07:00 PM )

ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: WEAVING A CONTEMPORARY YARN ONTO ANCIENT MYTH

Yuki Ellias, Niloufer Sagar, Asmit Pathare, Adriel George and Pruthu Parab Moderated by Sanjoy K. Roy

Director-performer Yuki Ellias along with producer Niloufer Sagar, light designer Asmit Pathare and music composers Adriel George and Pruthu Parab explore the challenges in bringing a new narrative to age-old scripts and the importance of storytelling, performance and costume with moderator Sanjoy K. Roy.

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YUKI ELLIAS

Yuki is an actor, teacher, corporate trainer, movement director and filmmaker. She studied theatre at Lecoq School, Paris, and LISPA, London. She is now Co-Convenor of the Drama School, Mumbai. She is founder of the innovative production company Dur Se Brothers, which has produced the successful shows Charge! and Yatagarasu. Her debut feature film Love You To Death as co-writer and actress won an Audience Choice Award at the Anchorage International Film Festival and the Royal Reel Award at the Canada International Film Festival in 2012. Yuki’s one-woman solo performance - Elephant in the Room - won three awards at META 2017.

Niloufer Sagar

Niloufer Sagar has worked in arts management in India and internationally for two decades. Her specialisations are theatre productions, festival management and site-responsive work. She currently works with artists including Terence Lewis and his dance company and theatre maker Yuki Ellias. She produced the three-year path-breaking project - The Re-Enchantment- in the UK, working closely with artists in theatre, film, publishing and conceptual art. She has had long associations with the British Council, the National Centre for the Performing Arts, the Jindal Arts Centre, and theatre companies Masque and Rage.

Asmit Pathare

Asmit Pathare is a screenwriter, filmmaker and stage-lighting designer. His films have been screened at MAMI, IFFLA, Kerala Film Festival and Sapporo Short Film Fest in Japan. He has done lighting for theatre productions in English, Hindi, Gujarati, as well as the TATA Literature Live Festival, Mumbai.

Pruthu Parab

Pruthu Parab is a music composer, producer, sound engineer and educator, who has been working professionally in music for over a decade. He has had experience working in advertising, Bollywood, and independent music while constantly pursuing new and innovative ways to collaborate with other artists and creators. This has led him to working with mixed media artists as well as theatre-makers and movement artists. Currently, he runs Echologue Studios in a quaint part of Goa, while spending time teaching English in a school there.

Adriel George

Adriel George is a music composer and producer who conceptualises and provides audio-based solutions for a range of mixed media, including advertising for television and web-based platforms, radio, theatre and art. He has worked with brands such as Bajaj Electricals, Lenovo, Trivago, SAIL, Godrej, Quick Heal and Bharti AXA Life Insurance and has also composed for Mahesh Dattani's play-turned-film Hasmukh Saab ki Wasihat, which was produced by Nandita Das's company Cineplay. He has worked with independent artists and performers such as Astaad Deboo, Avantika Bahl and Ali Akbar Mehta. In August 2017, he was a part of a contingent to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as music composer for the play Elephant in the Room, a META-winner.

Sanjoy K. Roy

Sanjoy K. Roy, an entrepreneur of the arts, is the Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 33 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across 40 cities across the world including the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival. He is a founder trustee of Salaam Baalak Trust, providing support services for street and working children in Delhi. Roy works closely with various industry bodies and the government on policy issues in the cultural sector in India, and has lectured and collaborated with several international universities

16th April 2021( 07:00 PM )

LASSANWALA: WHAT LIES INSIDE THE ACTOR’S BAG OF TRICKS?

Hemant Pandey, Vidit Tripathi, Alok Kumar, Himanshu Talreja and Anadi Nagar Moderated by Gopal Datt

Director Hemant Pandey, scriptwriter Vidit Tripathi, actors Alok Kumar and Himanshu Talreja and music composer Anadi Nagar explore the challenges that are put on actors by the director and scriptwriter in a production. In a conversation moderated by Gopal Datt, they look at the techniques and tricks that actors use to sustain their performances and the different styles of acting that are called upon to keep audiences riveted.

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HEMANT PANDEY

An actor and a theatre enthusiast whose association with the craft has spanned over 16 years, Hemant started acting at the age of 13. He was elected President of the Hansraj Dramatics Society while studying at Delhi University, and participated in several workshops organized by National School of Drama’s Theatre In Education Company (T.I.E.).

VIDIT TRIPATHI

Vidit is a Mumbai-based screenwriter and playwright. His work in theatre include Lassanwala which he wrote and produced, and Hello Farmaaish, for which he did Hindi dialogues. His upcoming work as a screenwriter include titles like Delhi Crime Season 2 for Netflix and a feature film titled - Durga.

ALOK KUMAR

Alok was featured in the film Shuttlecock Boys (2010) which was released by PVR Pictures. He has worked in television shows for Sony, Colors and Life Ok. He has also acted in films like Band Baja Baarat, Baby and Rajjo. He is a regular feature in the famed show Crime Patrol. He won a META for Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male) in the play Lassanwala. Alok Kumar was recently featured in Erosnow series 'Flesh' and Amazon commercial 'Apni Dukaan'.

Himanshu Talreja

Himanshu Talreja is an actor who graduated from the Flame School of Performing Arts, Pune. He received the Thespo's Best Actor award in 2015 and was nominated for a META in 2017 for Lassanwala. Currently, he is playing Bhagat Singh in Gagan Damama Bajyo directed by Piyush Mishra.

Anadi Nagar

Anadi Nagar is a music composer, music director, singer and vocal coach who hails from a family with a legacy of music and theatre. A recipient of two META nominations for Best Innovative Sound Design (Lassanwala 2017, Gagan Damama Bajyo 2020), Anadi has been working professionally for the last four years on stage. He has composed and directed the music for acclaimed plays like Menghaobi The Fair One (directed by Mahesh Dattani), Lassanwala (directed by Hemant Pandey) to name a few. He has also been part of acclaimed plays as lead vocalist, music arranger, vocal coach and been associated with prestigious festivals across India like the Hindu, Prithvi, META & Serendipity.

Gopal Datt

Gopal Datt, an actor and writer, finished an acting course from the National School of Drama and moved to Mumbai. He acted in several stage plays and worked with many theater directors. He got his first break in Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai (2001). After that, he played roles in Tere Naam, Kaushik Ghatak's 2014 Samrat & Co., in the National Award-winning film Filmistaan, and A Simple Murder among others. Gopal also works on many web series and has been actively involved with TVF for a very long time. He is known for his comedy roles in AIB videos.

9th April 2021( 07:00 PM )

NONA: AN INTERPLAY BETWEEN INNOVATION & STAGECRAFT

Jino Joseph, Sajas Rahman and Abid PT Moderated by Chandradasan

In an age of minimalism, dictated in part by availability of resources and part by narrative and directorial style, director Jino Joseph and light designers Sajas Rahman and Abid PT explore the centrality of design and aesthetics, stagecraft and lighting in creating breathtaking works like Nona, in a conversation moderated by theatre director, writer and actor Chandradasan.

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JINO JOSEPH

Jino Joseph is a Malayalam theatre director, scenographer and playwright. His play Matthi won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 2015 which won awards for production, direction, original script and Best Actor (Male) at META 2015. Jino has worked in nearly 30 productions and scripted and directed two documentaries, three fiction films and a feature film. He is also active in children’s theatre and has scripted and directed several plays for children. His other major plays are Kaani, Chiri (based on the life of Charlie Chaplin), Aarachar (the visual translation of the celebrated novel Hangwoman by K R Meera) and Nona. Currently, he is working as the director of a children’s theatre group called MANJUNA.

SAJAS RAHMAN

Sajas Rahman, a writer, director, light designer and independent filmmaker from Kerala is a post graduate in Theatre Arts from the School of Drama, Thrissur. He was associated as a scenographer with Claudio Cesaero’s Leela Rama, an Indo-Spanish project, Amithesh Grower’s Thrissur Ilinx, and Stuart Dennison’s Macbeth. He has written and directed plays in Malayalam like Kalikaalam, Oru Asambandha Natakaavatharanam and Marie Curie. He is also the co-founder of Rahman Brothers Productions known for promoting avant-garde films.

ABID P T

Abid P T is an actor, a light assistant and operator. In the field of theatre for the last 10 years, he has acted in 10 plays, including Chillara Samaram, Marthandante Swapnangal, Kentonians, Klaver Rani, Kundappi Gulu Gulu and has directed 3 plays for children for different youth festivals. In 2015, Chillara Samaram was the best play in the state level competition conducted by the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi and has been staged at the National School of Drama (NSD) Festival, New Delhi.

Chandradasan

Chandradasan, Founder and Artistic Director of Lokadharmi Centre for Theatre, Kochi, is a designer, director, actor, writer and translator. His productions include adaptations of the Classics (Western and Indian), Shakespeare, contemporary plays, improvised and devised productions, poetry and short story performances, comedies, and children’s plays. He has designed and directed about 50 plays in Malayalam, Kannada, Finnish, Hindi, Lithuanian, Tamil, Sanskrit, and English, including 10 plays for children which have been performed internationally at festivals. He is also a published writer of original plays and articles on theatre/performance studies. He is the recipient of the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Award in 2004, the META award for Best Play in 2008, and a Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship for professional and academic excellence.

2nd April 2021( 7:00 PM )

ANDHA YUG: THE THEATRICS OF VISUAL & IMPROV

Joy Maisnam, Sajida and Mohd. Shahnawaj Moderated by Ajit Rai

Theatre director Joy Maisnam, costume designer Sajida and actor Mohd. Shahnawaj with moderator Ajit Rai explore the legendary theatrical production Andha Yug and why this age-old story, a retelling of the Mahabharata myth, continues to be relevant even today. The conversation looks at the visual aspects of theatre and the importance of stage, colour, space, movement and improvisation.

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JOY MAISNAM

Joy Maisnam graduated from the National School of Drama in 2008. He has also done a certification course from the London International School of Performing Arts in ‘Devising Theatre and Performance’. He is trained in Yoga, Thang –Ta, Kalaripayattu, Chhau, Silambam, kick-boxing and has been associated with theatre for almost 19 years. He has directed some wonderful plays - Natak ho hi Nahi Sakta, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Loidriba Wari, 9 Days Newspaper, The Dance and The Railroad, The Journey of Sorrow, The Diary of a Madman, Andha Yug. The plays under his directorial ventures are innovative with different forms of martial arts and the ‘psycho-physical’ style fused in them. He has been awarded the Akademi Young Talented Award 2014 and 2018 by the Manipur State Kala Akademi; the Yuva Natya Samaroh Award 2017 by the Sahitya Kala Parishad Delhi.

SAJIDA

A graduate of NSD in 2008, Sajida has worked as an actor in the NSD Repertory Company for six years. She has worked with renowned directors like Anamika Haksar, Dr. Anuradha Kapur, Kirti Jain, Tripurari Sharma and many other national and international figures. She is also a researcher and a theatre practitioner. Her directorial ventures are Romeo Juliet, Midsummer Night's Dream, Yahudi ki Ladki, Tamasha - E - Nautanki and Banjara among many others.

MOHD. SHAHNAWAJ

Young and aspiring actor Mohd. Shahnawaj has a diploma in acting from HCRFTR Mandi (Himachal) and is a trained Chhau dancer. For the last 5 years, ever since his stage journey began, he has acted in notable plays like A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Dance and the Railroad, Pravjya, An Inspector Calls, ECHO, People in the Blood, Aandolan, Bada, Tamasha E Nautanki, Kaal Kothari, The Journey of Sorrow, Banjara, Yahudi ki Ladki , Do Rang. He is the lead protagonist in Balmaji Ka Studio, and Andha Yug.

AJIT RAI

Ajit Rai is one of India’s leading film and theatre critics and cultural journalists. Currently, he is a film and theatre critic at Jansatta and the Indian Express. He was also the Editor of Rang Prasang, an international journal of cinema and theatre by the National School of Drama, and the Founder-Editor of Drishyantar, a monthly magazine of cinema, TV, culture and media by Doordarshan. Ajit started a Theatre Appreciation Course at the National School of Drama in 2010. He has been a member of the selection committee for Bharat Rang Mahotsav since 2009. Ajit was a META Advisor in 2019 and a part of the META Selection Committee in 2020.

26th March 2021( 07:00 PM )

VIJAY TENDULKAR’S A FRIEND’S STORY: DRAMA REFLECTS THE TRUTH OF OUR TIMES

Akash Khurana, Gowri Ramnarayan, Sayalee Phatak and Abhay Mahajan Moderated by Sanjoy K. Roy

Even as Tendulkar's award-winning production Jaat hi Pucho Sadhu Ki received threats based on its title and was not staged in Madhya Pradesh, META celebrates this formidable playwright who held up the mirror to the modern world. Director Akash Khurana, translator Gowri Ramnarayan, actors Sayalee Phatak and Abhay Mahajan explore Tendulkar's world and talk about the threat to performance art in today's polarised world.

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SAYALEE PHATAK

Sayalee Phatak is an actress who is passionate not only about the stage but also about education and art therapy through theatre. She is known for her performances in A Friend’s Story, Mahanirvan, Sindhu Sudhakar Rum ani itar and Geli Ekvis Varsha, among many others. She is an inherent part of the Pune-based theatre group Natak Company. Sayalee won a META for playing Mitra in ‘A Friend’s Story’ in 2016. She has also performed in international festivals in London and Italy. She is a visiting faculty at Lalit Kala Kendra and works closely with children.

GOWRI RAMNARAYAN

Playwright, theatre director, journalist (formerly Deputy Editor, The Hindu), vocal accompanist to legendary musician MS Subbulakshmi, Dr Gowri Ramnarayan is a rare amalgam of aesthetics and scholarship. Founder and Artistic Director, JustUs Repertory, her multi-lingual and multi-genre theatre productions have been staged in the major cities of India, the US, UK and South Asia. She has translated two plays by Vijay Tendulkar (Marathi) and short stories by Kalki Krishnamurti (Tamil), and served as Fipresci Jury member at international film festivals in Europe. She has authored children's books, a biography of her guru MS Subbulakshmi.

AKASH KHURANA

In a span of over four decades, Dr. Akash Khurana has worked extensively with Satyadev Dubey, Sunil Shanbag and Naseeruddin Shah, and is a core member of Arpana, Motley, and Akvarious Productions, three of India’s foremost theatre companies. His production of Vijay Tendulkar’s A Friend’s Story. was performed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. His most recent production was Under the Gypsy Moon, adapted from Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s Srikanta, and directed for Aadyam, an Aditya Birla Group initiative. He was Managing Editor of the theatre journal OVATION, and the Artistic Advisor Qto the National Centre for the Performing Arts’ Repertory Theatre. He has acted in nearly 60 films, 15 TV Serials, and web series streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime. He has also written screenplays for over 200 TV episodes and 20 films and, including Baazigar, for which he won a Filmfare Award

SANJOY K. ROY

Sanjoy K. Roy, an entrepreneur of the arts, is the Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 33 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across 40 cities across the world including the iconic Jaipur Literature Festival. He is a founder trustee of Salaam Baalak Trust, providing support services for street and working children in Delhi. Roy works closely with various industry bodies and the government on policy issues in the cultural sector in India, and has lectured and collaborated with several international universities

Abhay Mahajan

A trained actor and dancer, Abhay Mahajan has been a part of the alternative theatre and film movement in India for the past many years. He started his career as a child actor. Mahajan learnt body movement for a year at the Attakkalari Institute of Movement Arts (Bengaluru) and also conducts body movements workshop. He is also one of the founding members of the Pune-based theatre troupe, Natak Company. Mahajan has been part of many award-winning and acclaimed films. His nomination as Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male) for A Friend’s Story was his second META nomination as Best Actor (after Shillak, 2013).