The Royal Opera House, Mumbai presents Natya Velhal: Opera House Rangamanchavar Marathi Natakanchi Parvani, its first ever four-day Marathi theatre festival in association with Print Partner Maharashtra Times, Radio Partner 93.5 RED FM & 106.4 Magic FM and Supported by Mumbai Theatre Guide, Astitva and Avid Learning.
The festival will showcase 10 plays across genres ranging from sangeet natak, suspense, comedy, thriller, and romance to experimental – all under one roof!
Get ready to see some of the most radiant stalwarts from the Marathi theatre industry such as Girish Oak, Makarand Deshpande, Suchita Thatte, Gajanan Paranjpe, Amruta Subhash, Madhura Welankar Satam, Saurabh Gokhale, Anita Date, Sandesh Jadhav, Gauri Jadhav and many more, performing live on stage!
Join us for one of the most awaited theatre festivals in Mumbai!
Look for your favourite plays and book your tickets now!
Festival Directors: Ravi Mishra & Bhavik Shah
Festival Line - Up
Thursday, 6th April 2023
4:30 PM - 38 Krishna Villa
8:00 PM - Kaali Raani
Friday, 7th April 2023
4:30 PM - Sir Premacha Kay Karaycha
8:00PM - Prasthan Urf EXIT
Saturday, 8th April 2023
11:30 AM - Jay Shankara Vidhyadhara
4:30 PM - You Must Die
8:00 PM - To Rajhans Ek
Sunday, 9th April 2023
11:30 AM - Punashcha Honeymoon
4:30 PM - Madhurav Boru Te Blog
8:00 PM - Laavni Ke Rang
History of Marathi Theatre
Theatre has been an integral part of celebrations all across India and has a prominent history in Maharashtra and Bombay/Mumbai since the times of British rule. The foundation of Marathi theatre was laid in 1843 by Vishnudas Bhave’s first stage play Sita Swayamyar supported by the King of Sangali, Chintamanrao Patwardhan. He is titled ‘the father and pioneer of Marathi theatre’. Anna Saheb Kirloskar’s Shakuntal established the trend of sangeet natak in Marathi theatre. Ever since theatre saw a transition from the representation of traditional, mythological themes to representing social conditions, and being used as a political tool to fight colonialism, and is today used as a medium of entertainment and expression of contemporary ideas.
Marathi Theatre in Mumbai
The origins of the Mumbai Theatre are in south central Bombay in the areas from Khetwadi to Kamathipura. There are anecdotes from the British times that say a theatre had to fulfill three basic conditions: proximity to a tram stop or railway station; proximity to a dingy bar; and proximity to a red-light area.
One of the bylanes in Mumbai is named after the tamasha tradition’s doyen Patthe Bapurao. It is also said that theatre sprung up at almost any unlikely location in Mumbai. For example, a month-long Kamgar fest was hosted at the Jamboree Maidan in 1938-39, and a cult play called Vastraharan’s 5000 Shows was performed by mill workers from Lower Parel and Naigaon. These plays were even performed in chawls and in bylanes. Since then the love and craze for theatre have only grown in the city. Today, there are more than 1500 theatre shows monthly in theatres of Mumbai in multiple regional languages like Marathi, Hindi, and Gujarati among many others.
Marathi Theatre in the 20th and 21st Century
The graph of Marathi theatre underwent a slump around the year 1925 due to the growing influence of radio and cinema. But it also brought along awareness about the progress of Western theatre. K. N. Kale, Anant Kanekar, G. Y. Chitnis, and S. V. Vartak started a theatre group called Natyamanvantar to bring a new dimension to Marathi theatre. It was during this period in 1933 that Vartak’s Andhalyaanchi Shaalaa went live in theatres. This was the first ever Marathi play to have a female actor. Additionally, a revolutionary move to bring naturalistic sets, acting, background music, and lighting to the Marathi stage.
Great Names in Marathi Theatre
Marathi theatre has something for all, offering plays in various genres and hence loved by many. It holds all kinds of performances from comedy, serious depictions of society, political satires, thriller, suspense, musicals, romantic, tragedy, rags to riches stories, and missions. Marathi theatre has scaled new heights with proficient artists, writers, and directors like Vijay Tendulkar, P. L Deshpande, Mahesh Elkunchwar, Bhalaji Pendharakar, Raja Paranjape, Annabhu Sathe, Vinda Karandikar, Arun Sadhu, P. K. Atre, Daya Pawar and the list goes on.