A Guide To Mumbai's Theatre Landscape: Live Plays, Performances & Modern Storytelling

L: Motley ; R: Ansh
L: Motley ; R: Ansh

Mumbai is home to the Indian film industry. The city that never sleeps produces talent and gives space to young individuals from around the country who wish to perform for a larger audience and also breathes life into the world of theatre by leading the conversation with innovative drama groups, performance theatres, and dynamic plays.

Acclaimed artists from the industry have their own companies where young talent is treasured and crafted further. One has to witness a play in the city to experience the beauty of Indian storytelling where unmatched performances are explored. Here are some places in Mumbai that conduct workshops and classes in theatre arts as well as present plays for audiences to witness.

I. Prithvi Theatre

A subsidiary of the Shri Prithviraj Kapoor Memorial Trust & Research Foundation was set up in 1975, Prithvi Theatre seeks to be a catalyst to promote and inspire professionalism in theatre. With a long lineage of notable alumni, the company is recognised for its efficient team and acclaimed plays. The performance art theatre continues to flourish as it provides a home for new talent and is a source of inspiration to both its fraternity and its audience with over 540 shows a year. The legendary cultural spot also hosts an annual Prithvi Theatre Festival, showcasing at least two new plays a day. The fest also provides space to interact with industry stalwarts and attend musical performances.

Find them here.

II. Motley Theatre Company

Set up by the renowned artist, Naseeruddin Shah, the theatre group has shaped the world of drama performance in the country. Their first production in 1979 was ‘Waiting for Godot’, the modern classic by Beckett, followed by their path-breaking performance of ‘Julius Caesar’ in 1992. The play had an unprecedented impact and launched the vibrant theatre scene as we know it today. One of their ongoing plays is ‘Aurat, Aurat, Aurat’ which has an all-female cast bringing to life four essays by Ismat Chughtai depicting the resilience of women through the ages.

Find them here.

L: Motley ; R: Prithvi Theatre

III. Ansh Theatre Group

Founded by writer and director, Makrand Deshpande, Ansh believes in harnessing the raw talent of actors, to create plays which spring from what they have to offer. Creating original and unusual work, using space, sound, and the very actors themselves, the company is one of the rare Hindi theatre groups in the city that has created an audience by doing theatre that has both style and vigour. Their plays such as ‘Sir Sir Sirla’, ‘Ram’ and ‘Balatkar’ are thought-provoking and urge one to witness the sheer talent on stage as well. The group also often collaborates with other acclaimed artists from the industry for special masterclasses.

Find them here.

IV. Drama School Mumbai

A cultural institution founded in 2013, to forge a new generation of theatre-makers. Drama School Mumbai comprises the best theatre practitioners, actors, playwrights, directors, theatre designers and producers. Built to promote the awareness of theatre and its processes to a wider audience interested in exploring and understanding the medium for themselves. They offer shorter workshops and lectures, making theatre more easily accessible for all.

Find them here.

To fully explore the range and ability of the city in terms of theatre talents, you can keep tabs on different communities conducting new plays almost every week. Thespo is a theatre for the youth where individuals get a chance to produce their plays on stage. Similarly, Patchwork Ensemble is a community that puts on plays as well as workshops in the city. Independent artists such as Yuki Ellias conduct workshops for young learners while NCPA (The National Theatre for the Performing Arts) is the place to find compelling plays as a person looking to explore the landscape of theatre in Mumbai.

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