Offering an exquisite array of drama and performance arts, the national capital captures the true spirit of India’s evolving theatre scene. Delhi is a city that explores various mediums of storytelling with a dynamic display of cultures from around India. Booming with multiple influences, it is the perfect location for drama enthusiasts to catch live performances, attend immersive workshops, interact with industry stalwarts and even delve into archives with a comprehensive collection of India’s theatre history.
The range highlights the wealth and variety of drama-centric knowledge available in the city. Here is a homegrown guide that covers different theatre and performance experiences to catch when in Delhi.
I. Takhleeq Theatre Group
Embedded in explorative learning, the Takhleeq Theatre Group based in New Delhi intends to create a space for artists to build a society for expression. Founded in 2016, the group specialises in theatre but offers a diverse experience while creating and supporting all forms of art. In order to expand theatre beyond the four walls, the group actively seeks collaborations with individual artists and groups to share the spotlight. Considering performing theatre to be a therapeutic and cathartic process, they have come up with productions like ‘Waqfa’, ‘Corpse for Sale’, and ‘Sipahi aur Maut’; inspired by grassroots learning and believe in creating a platform for people to depict their own stories. Lastly, the group also offers multiple workshops that divulge the art of stage writing as well as providing specialised classes for children as well.
II. India Habitat Centre
You cannot fully explore the beauty that resides in the cultural capital without visiting the India Habitat Centre. I urge you to visit this beautifully constructed institution; home to numerous events, exhibitions and performances that take place on a daily basis. The calming ambience is the perfect hangout spot to immerse yourself in art and culture. Set up in 1993, their Grecian-inspired amphitheatre and Stein Auditorium regularly conduct theatre performances and documentary screenings. Featured in the iconic movie, ‘Rang De Basanti’, India’s finest performing arts hub celebrates an annual theatre festival with plays from Delhi practitioners. Additionally, their habitat film club promises film buffs a rich fare of meaningful and entertaining films from across the world, masterclasses, retrospectives and interactive sessions with directors, producers, and actors.
III. Alkazi Theatre Archives
Dedicated to the preservation and study of the cultural history of India, the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts has amassed materials relating to post-Independence theatre in India in the form of the Alkazi Theatre Archives (ATA). It’s the perfect place to visit as a theatre enthusiast to understand the past and present of performance art across the country. The privately-owned collection includes photographs and print materials in the form of original scripts, director’s notes, brochures, reviews, seminar papers, theatre magazines, and audio-visual material including interviews, rehearsals, and performances. The archive will also contextualise productions within broader social, cultural, and political histories. Additionally, the foundation conducts individual exhibitions throughout the year to offer a contemporary context as well.
Find more about the archive and its upcoming performances here.
IV. National School Of Drama
One of the foremost theatre training institutions in the country is funded by the Ministry of Culture. In addition to being a school with an intensive theatre practice program, which takes into account the methods of great theatre personalities who have shaped contemporary theatre in all its variety, they also offer multiple learning avenues. Open to outsiders, their exclusive workshops range across a variety of residential programmes. They also offer production-oriented workshops as well as stage design-focused classes. If you are someone looking for interesting plays to catch while in the city, the students regularly present their theatre productions to audiences as well.
Find more about their upcoming workshops and plays here.
While in Delhi you should look out for independent productions taking place in various theatres around the city such as Lok Kala Manch, Sur Tal Open Theatre, Kamani Auditorium and Shri Ram Centre. You can find information on upcoming plays here.
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