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Theatre Remains: Journals & Magazines


Theatre and vernacular print culture emerged hand in hand during the colonial period in India and became highly instrumental in propagating the anti-imperial struggle. However, an exclusive commentary on and for theatre emerged post- Independence and began to disseminate through magazines, periodicals, and newsletters, chronicling not only… Read More



Theatre News in Natya – National and International (1958)


“The happiest feature of this widespread interest is the fact that theatre in India has survived the onslaught of the film, Radio, as we have seen, offers little competition; television is, as of yet, absent though few will be able to hazard what its impact will be on the Indian people. But the film has a predominant hold on them. The Indian film industry is amongst the biggest in the world, yet save in a handful of instances… Read More



 Advertisements & Subscriptions: Tools to Understand Readership of Theatre Magazines


Advertisements and subscriptions are essential aspects in the running of print medium. While theatre magazines target/ed theatre artists, enthusiasts, critics, and theatre goers specifically, their advertisements and subscription flyers allow us to understand and analyse the readership and reception of these magazines as well as the circulation of theatre performances, discussions and scholarship… Read more



Abhinay: An Inland Letter Theatre Journal by Anand Gupt


‘But if this sounds like easy communication at little cost, that’s also not correct. Anand Gupta is already weighed under with the money required to keep this Abhinay going. They have introduced tiny little panels for advertisements in the middle pages, a little banner advertisement on the top, and a half-page advertisement for the bottom half…Read more




Contextualising Theatre and Cultural Policy in India (1960s-70s) Through Newspaper Clippings and Magazine Articles


Post independence, theatre in India grappled with the question of an ‘Indian’ identity with the establishment of institutions like the National School of Drama, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Akademi, to name a few, in the 1950s. The Sangeet Natak Akademi Drama Seminar of 1956, presented its analysis and recommendations to the government on the factors hindering the growth of dramaRead more




Contextualising Theatre and Cultural Policy in India (1980s-90s) Through Newspaper Clippings


Beginning in the 1980s, economic liberalization in India had repercussions in the field of culture including theatre. A reader of Rangbharati magazine in May 1980 writes to its editor, “during the last thirty-three years of our independence we could not create a meaningful cultural awareness…the neo-capitalists and politicians pact, which is responsible for the rapid retardation of our nation’s economy and human values…Read more




Unearthing Postcolonial Modernity: Prabhat Kumar Tripathi’s ‘Desi Dimaag Ki Jarurat’ in Kalavaarta (1981)


What does one mean when one uses the term ‘modern’ in a globalized and privatized Indian society? Aparna Dharwadker in her book ‘Poetics of Modernity: Indian Theatre Theory, 1850 to the Present’ (2018) notes, ‘An overtly decolonizing strain in post-independence discourse has rejected the modernity associated with western modes of representation as a damaging colonialist imposition, and argued for an alternative postcolonial modernity based on premodern indigenous traditions of performance…Read more



Labour Day: A Look Back at Utpal Dutt’s Angar (1959) in Seagull Theatre Quarterly

“Portraying the proletarian hero as a giant with no weakness is telling the audience that it’s impossible to be a revolutionary. The worker of peasant in the audience concludes: “I can never be like him, because I have many weaknesses.” Our hero must be as complex as any other human being. In one thing alone he must be simple, direct, and uncompromising: his class attitude…Read more



Televised Theatre of 1980s: Kissa Ek Chunav Ka


The erstwhile Director of All India Radio, K.S Duggal,  wrote passionately about television theatre at it’s advent. Comparing the aesthetics of adaptation of scripts from the mediums of radio and/or theatre to television, K.S Duggal notes “(TV producers’) salvation lies in building up their own scripts. They might use some of the successful radio and stage plays…Read more



Visiting Agyeya’s ‘Apne Apne Ajnabi’ Through Newspaper Review and Brochure


In a review of the NSD Repertory Company’s 1989 rendition of Agyeya’s (S H Vatsyayan) novel, Apne Apne Ajnabi (1961) in Sunday Mail (Image I), Anand Gupt writes: “Though the essence of the novel has been held intact, the play departs from the conventions of storytelling, giving birth to a one-of-its-kind style of script writing. The five characters bring to life the experience of death, loneliness and alienation from the world…Read more




Historicizing Ebrahim Alkazi’s Hiroshima With 1970 Production Brochure


“A person belongs to a given time, but the world changes in time, and he changes with it. The world changes him, but he along with others, also changes the world. Herein lies his power. He is a product of a particular society in a particular period, but he can influence the change of that society by every single choice he makes, alone. The choices made, the actions taken by many many people like him ultimately change the world, for better or for worse…Read more



Amal Allana’s ‘The Exception And The Rule’ (1979): Brochure and Photograph as Research Tools

“Let nothing be called natural
In an age of bloody confusion,
Ordered disorder, planned caprice,
And dehumanized humanity, lest all things
Be held unalterable!”
“The Exception and the Rule,” was a popular Lehrstüke (Teaching Play) written in 1931 by German playwright Bertrolt Brecht…Read more
Natya Shodh Sansthan (est. 1981 in Kolkata) is the largest archive of materials on Indian theatre. In 1986 NSS began publishing their official news bulletin, ‘Rangavarta’ edited by the formidable art critic Samik Bandyopadhyay. The magazine articulated modern discourses on artistic and cultural significance of theatre and its practices…Read more
Habib Tanvir’s magnum opus, ‘Charandas Chor’ (1974) is based on a Rajasthani folk tale. A thief with a conscience, he can’t bring himself to rob the helpless or the poor, but runs rings around the pillars of establishment…Read more
Contemporary theatre in India cohabits the spaces of newly emerging mass media and can be seen attempting to adapt its elements and forms. Theatre, as a place of viewing and an activity, is essentially a social medium catering to a large group of people and hence helping shape a public discourse. Then, in such a mass communication landscape, how does one define theatre…Read more
Theatre reflects and possibly affects its society’s view of the world: its history, philosophy, religious attitudes, social structure, theoretical assumptions, its way of thinking about humanity and the world and nature. Through its historiographic interventions it adds to the dominant discourse, forgotten and marginalized events…Read more
With the onset of the pandemic, theatre practitioners struggle with many similar, some nuanced concerns of their predecessors. Today, we look back at the India Today article dated 15 March 1980 where journalist Chitra Subramaniam interrogated the influence of theatre in India, it’s grappling with lack of economic support and contemplated…Read more


Analysing Theatre Circuits through Group Festivals: Looking at the Brochure of 1961 Bohurupee Festival at AIFACS, Delhi


Red Oleander (1923-24), earlier titled ‘Yakshapuri’, became one of the earliest works of Indian theatre critiquing modern totalitarianism, right at the cusp of the Non-Cooperation movement gaining momentum. When a megalomaniac ruler uses his subjects in the gold mining town of Yakshapuri as means to produce more personal wealthRead more




Alternative Advertising and Cultures of Consumerism: A Newspaper Report on NSD’s Exhibition of Theatre Posters, 1979 by Kavita Nagpal


Advertisements through varied mediums are tools of spreading the consumerist culture. Amidst a practice of publicity and brand creation then, can one think of theatre as a mode of production? How does one navigate the traditionally participatory nature of theatre against the advertised ticketed audience arenas? Does it require unique and alternative advertising strategiesRead more




Recasting History through Theatre: Analysing Ramu Ramanathan’s ‘Mahadevbhai 1892-1942’ through Production Pamphlet


In a 2006 Hindustan Times article by Geetanjali Dang, Jamini Pathak, the solo performer of the play, Mahadevbhai 1892-1942, notes, “The play is ultimately a political comment on our times, as much as it is an analysis of our freedom struggle. Received wisdom is as dangerous as received …Read more





Drama Scripts and Publication: Assessing Circulation through Theatre Magazines


Theatre magazines and journals provide an inexpensive and available medium of playscript publication, as compared to individual/self publishing; the former expanding the scopes of translations, adaptations and circulation. With unique reach and readership, they carry canonical drama scripts as well…Read more




Employing Theatre as a Tool for Social Change: Discussing the Adaptation of Folk Forms in Amitava Dasgupta’s ‘Kaheke’ Through a Newspaper Review


Can theatre question the traditional practices of a community and reflect on discriminatory policies as well as non-intervention of legal bodies, which often result in heinous crimes, including death, towards the Dalits? Plays have often reflected on caste-based violence and exclusionary customs by adapting folk forms and performances…Read more




Historicizing Theatre and Censorship through Newspaper Reports


Historicizing censorship and theatre, M. L. Varadpande in an article in Hindustan Times (May 19, 1979) writes,

‘It is in Kautilya’s “Arthashastra”, written around 400 BC, that we find for the first time clear rules pertaining to the actor community and the art. In addition to paying tax per show the actor was supposed to behave properly on stage. He was asked to avoid criticism of country, caste, family and copulation of man and woman in his recitations…Read more



Theatre Documentation through Photographs: Analyzing the dearth in the practice through exhibition brochure (Photographs on Theatre in the Seventies) and magazine (Rang Manch, Kala Mandir).


“Just as a shattered face caught in a sequence of shots can project a shattered social system, so the emptiness of a setting can embody the emptiness of the time. A set can be designed in such terms, but the photographer may not be able to capture that dimension. ‘Everyone is not a poet. There are only a few that are.” – Debashis Dasgupta, Brochure of Exhibition of Photographs, Theatre in the Seventies, Calcutta, 1981…Read more




Exploring the Emergence of Dalit Theatre on Marathi Stage in 1980s: Mapping the Discussions on Dalit Theatre as Published in Newspapers and Magazine Articles


“दलित रंगकर्मियों की स्पष्ट धारणा है कि वे मध्यवर्गीय दृष्टिकोण से अन्याय-अत्याचार एवं शोषणजन्य समस्याओं को मुखर करने के प्रयोग एवं प्रयासों को अपर्याप्त ही नहीं मानते, बल्कि उन्हें अस्वीकार करते हैं। उनका विश्वास है कि हमारी व्यथा-वेदना, संघर्ष, विद्रोहपूर्ण बोध की अभिव्यक्ति प्रचलित रंग-पद्धतियों, भाषा, अभिनय शैलियों एवं रंगमंच के विभिन्न उपकरणों के परंपरागत रूपों के माध्यम से संभव नहीं।…दलित रंगकर्मी अपनी नाट्यात्मक अभिव्यक्ति के प्रयासों में प्रचलित, बाहरी राहों से हटकर अपना स्वतंत्र रास्ता नाप रहे हैं।…Read more




Understanding Women’s Voices in Indian Theatre in the 1980s through Magazines and Newspaper articles


Towards Equality’ (1974), a document introduced by the Committee on the Status of Women, the first systematically represented report highlighting socio-political and economic conditions of women in India, became the founding stone of women’s movements and feminist politics in the country. As an inherently socially engaged medium…Read more




Newspaper Report on Konkani Theatre in Calcutta’s Natyavaarta, 1977: Understanding Circuits of Print Culture and Inter-regional Dialogue and Exchange


The monthly magazine ‘Natyavaarta’, edited by Vimal Lath from 1976 and published by Anamika Publications in Hindi from Calcutta, was available at a price of 50 paisa per issue and a yearly subscription of Rs.6, which covered news as well as discussions on theatre happenings from all over India…Read more





20th Century Radio Drama: Contextualizing Intermediality through Radio Drama Criticisms in Theatre Magazines  


The February-March issue 8/9 of Rangabharati (1980) magazine published from Lucknow, carries a report on the radio dramas of 1978. The two articles under this section introduce the readers to the published works of radio playwrights Girish Bakshi and Amritlal Naagar…Read more





Remembering Surekha Sikri: Understanding the Dynamics of Theatre Profession in 1970s by Analysing the Role of Repertory Companies in the Trajectory of Theatre in India


Today, the Alkazi Theatre Archives remembers Surekha Sikri, an actress who dedicated herself to the art of acting and meticulously chose roles. In the Morning Echo, dated July 21, 1978, ‘In love with acting for what it’s worth’…Read more




Understanding the Significance of Theatre Magazines and Journals in 1970-80s Mumbai by Analysing the Editorial of ‘Bharatashastra’


‘Rangabhoomi’ (1907 onwards), ‘Natak’, ‘Nandi’, ‘Parikshan’, ‘Natyabhoomi’, ‘Natyadarpan’ (1970s) were some of the magazines and journals dedicated to theatre in Maharashtra in the twentieth century. Mumbai’s amateur theatre group, Sankalp, started a Marathi language monthly called ‘Bharata Shastra’ in September, 1978 addressing the lack of well organized theatre criticism in Maharashtra…Read more





Debating the Function of Theatre in the 1970s-90s as Discussed in Little Theatre Group’s Newsletter ‘Theatre News/ Stagedoor’


Influenced by western amateur theatre companies and repertory style productions, Inder Lal Dass founded the Little Theatre Group (LTG) in Lahore in 1946 and migrated to Delhi in 1947 following the aftermath of the partition of India. Translating and adapting Anton Chekhov’s ‘Three Sisters’, LTG made its debut in Delhi in 1948. Aimed at reconfiguring and building debate about the Delhi theatre…Read more





Reading Through Theatre Ephemera: Mapping the Post-independence Cultural Sphere in India


Through the series, Notes from the Archive – Print & Theatre, the Alkazi Theatre Archives explored a multilingual archive from post-independence period in India to illuminate the exchanges, as well as interrelationships between the medium of theatre and different modes of print culture. The Alkazi Theatre Archives houses the Anand Gupt Collection, consisting of newspaper clippings (1965-2010s), production brochures…Read more





World Photography Day: Revisiting the Friction between Recording Technologies and Theatre


On the eve of World Photography Day, we look at an example of the often tense encounter between theatre and technology – not just for theatre makers but for the theatre goer as well. The sound of the shutter and the flashlights…Read more




A Case Study of Natya: Theatre Arts Journal Published by the Bharatiya Natya Sangh in 1950s-60s


When one attempts to analyse the relationship between print culture and theatre, it becomes essential to interrogate the process, as well as the apparatus involved in the production of printed materials focusing on theatre. Who were the producers? What were their objectives? How does the position of the producers within a particular network…Read more




Rangmanch: Analyzing the Finances, Circuits and Discourse Generated by the Journal (1976-1990) Published by Kala Mandir, Gwalior


Theatre periodicals offer an insight into the networks between organizations, groups, funding agencies and sponsors through the publication of organization’s annual reports and advertising patrons, as well as their reports on theatre productions at festivals organized by various agencies. Such networks enable us to critically analyse the ways in which patronage…Read more




Tracing Theatre Criticism in Mumbai’s Marathi Monthly Periodical Bharatshastra (1978-1984)


In this series of Notes from the Archive – Print & Theatre, the Alkazi Theatre Archives looks at a Marathi theatre monthly, Bharatshastra (1978-84), published from Parel, Mumbai and edited by Vinayak Padwal, to analyze the nature of theatre news and criticism. An amateur theatre group called ‘Sankalp’ started publishing Bharatshastra in September 1978…Read more