Following the grand success of ‘Natya Velhal’, the first-ever Marathi Theatre Festival, the Royal Opera House, Mumbai, presents ‘Natyadhara- A Presentation of Regional Performative Arts’, a thoughtfully curated monthly series of multilingual regional art performances across diverse genres with the first season from Sept 1st to Sept 3rd presented in collaboration with Astitva, Avid Learning, Curated Classics, and Mumbai Theatre Guide.
We open our doors with a riveting lineup of performances in Hindi, Gujarati, and Marathi starring some of the most prominent artists from the theatre industry like Atul Satya Koushik, Latika Jain, Hemangi Kavi, Girish Kulkarni, Ojas Rawal, Mehul Buch, Alpana Buch, and many others.
The above-mentioned plays are brought forth by Ravi Mishra and Bhavik Shah from Curated Classics.
Get ready to once again engross yourself in real-time captivating theatrical experiences, at Mumbai’s most iconic theatre stage, the Royal Opera House.
Season 1 Line- up:
1st September 2023, Friday
8:00 PM - "Prem Ramayan" (Hindi)
2nd September 2023, Saturday
11:00 AM - "Janmavaari" (Marathi)
4:45 PM - "Dastangoi" (Gujarati)
8:00 PM - "Ishara Ishara Ma" (Gujarati)
3rd September 2023, Sunday11:30 AM - "Whole Body Massage" (Marathi)
Brief History of Theatre in India
traditions of India have a 2000-year-old history associated with them.
‘Natyashashtra’ a systematic compilation of techniques of drama by Bharata was
referred to as the foundation for Indian theatrical style for centuries. During
the 17th century, Sanskrit theatre was one of the popular forms of expression.
It slowly evolved as ‘Indian Classical Dance Drama’ during the 18th century.
Indian theatre went through different phases Theatre in Ancient India, Theatre
in Medieval India, and Modern Indian Theatre.
The Evergreen Folk Theatre Traditions in India
Folk theatre a composition of different forms of art including music, dance, stylized speech, and spectacle has deep roots associated with local identity and the native culture. This form of theatre is significant as it reflects the socio-political realities of its time and it remains an important indigenous tool for interpersonal communication. The folk theatre has a long, rich, and illustrious history in India. They have evolved through centuries and the artists received patronage by several Indian rulers. The Tamasha folk theatre was patronized by the Peshwas of the Maratha Kingdom. Similar traditions were seen in Banaras, where Maharaj of Banaras produced a 31-day-long Ramlila, based on stories of the great epic of Ramayana. Folk theatre tradition saw an infusion of local myths, costumes, and masks in the ancient form of drama evolving in a completely diverse regional style unique to individual regions. Some other folk theatre traditions also include Bhavai from Gujarati, Koodiyatam from Kerala, Yakshgandha from Karnataka, Swang from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Jatra from Orissa, and many more.
History of Gujarati Theatre
Gujarati theatre finds its root in the 14th-century folk theatre of Bhavai. The origin of Bhavai was attributed to Asaita Thakar, a religious folk singer. Gujarati theatre accommodated several new aspects of the Tamasha tradition of Maharashtra during the 16th century. During the rule of the British India Company, foreign operas and theatre groups became a huge inspiration for the Parsis to start their travel theatre group, largely performing in Gujarati. In the year 1852, a Parsi theatre group performed the play Shakespeare in Gujarati, which became a remarkable incident and a turning point in the history of Gujarati theatre. ‘Rustom Sohra’ was the first Parsi-Gujarati play by the Parsee Natak Mandali, founded by Framjee Gustadjee Dalal in 1853. According to the historian Makrand Mehta, the first theatre group in Gujarat was founded in Morbi by Mulji and Vaghji Oza.’Arya Subodh Natak Mandali’, established in 1878 was the first group not associated with the Parsi theatre or the Bhavai tradition. Its first production ‘Bharthari’, remains very significant in history as it was performed for several years in Saurashtra.
Dastangoi is a classic form of oral storytelling from the times of the Mughal Emperor Akbar during the 16th century. Dastangoi is a Persian word, in which ‘dastan’ means story and ‘goi’ means to narrate a story. It has traveled from Delhi to Lucknow and it was here that it became very popular. The storyteller is known as the Dastnago, and he creates visuals in the minds of the listeners through his/her powerful technique of oral narration. It was earlier practiced in Persian, today it is also performed in other languages like Hindi and Gujarati.