Top 20 Theatres in India - Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and More!

Top 20 Theatres in India - Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and More!

The theatre scene in India is growing substantially and we want to be on the cutting edge! Below, BroadwayWorld rounds up the top 20 theatre companies in India, from Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and more. Check out the list below!

Are you a theatre critic, writer or blogger in India and interested in writing for us? Contact christina@broadwayworld.com for more information!

1. National Centre Performing Arts, Mumbai. Inaugurated in 1969, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai, is India's premier cultural institution. The first multi-venue, multi-purpose cultural centre to be built in South Asia, it has been committed since its inception to preserving and promoting the country's rich and vibrant heritage of Indian and international music, dance, theatre, film, literature and photography as well as presenting new and innovative work in the field of the performing arts.

Playing host to over 600 performances annually, the NCPA has the distinction of being India's largest, most holistic performing arts centre. More than 200 theatre shows are presented every year at the NCPA. There is an ongoing presentation of drama in a variety of forms and languages, principally in Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi and English. All this activity is spearheaded by 5 major theatre festivals including the NCPA Centrestage Theatre Festival.

For more information, visit: http://ncpamumbai.com/

2. LTG Auditorium, Delhi. Situated in Mandi House, Copernicus Marg, opp Doordarshan Bhavan is located the Little Theatre Group (LTG) Auditorium which is six decades old making it the oldest auditorium in Delhi. Many cultural activities like shows, plays, annual days & award ceremonies have been staged here. It has a seating capacity of 327 & tickets can be purchased at the venue itself or online. With a stage size of 32 X 24 Sq Ft the auditorium is a predecessor in promoting any activity, be it a school programme, play or a dance. The shows in the auditorium are full mostly; so to avoid the rush or any last-minute hassles one must book tickets in advance.

3. Akshara Theatre, New Delhi. THE AKSHARA THEATRE was founded in 1972 by Gopal Sharman: playwright, poet, musician, theatre and television director; and his actress wife Jalabala Vaidya. The Akshara Theatre is an exquisite arts complex set in the heart of New Delhi. It has four performance spaces for live performances equipped with lighting and sound equipment recently augmented by a generous grant from the Government of Japan under its Cultural Grassroots Programme.

4. Artrightis Theatre Company - Artrightis Theatre Group (ART-RIGHT-IS) was established in Bangalore, in 2013. Author and theatre artist Sharmin Ali, brought together a group of amateur and professional theatre enthusiasts and started Artrightis. They have staged numerous plays around Bangalore. Sharmin Ali started her theatrical career with her first performance on stage at the Alliance francaise, Bangalore. Soon after, she started her own production house ART-RIGHT-IS. The most famous shows by ART-RIGHT-IS include Chutzpah and EREBUS- darkness personified, which were showcased in Bangalore and received critical acclaim.

5. Birbum Blossom Theatre - Birbhum Blossom Theatre was established on January 15, 2006 at small village, Daronda, 13 km away from the famous Santiniketan. Birbhum Blossom Theatre is theatre group guided by famous theatre personality Ratan Thiyam and the group president is Partha Gupta. The group was established by Partha Gupta, with the help of 30 energetic young workers of the village Daronda. Later on the group procured a new campus. The group is an emerging theatre group from the remote area of the Birbhum district of West Bengal. Apart from regular theatre performances written and directed by Partha Gupta, the president. The group is involved in Santal various festivals every year. Around 10 more villages of Birbhum district are actively attached with the group.

6. Brindaban Theatre - A mobile theatre group of the North-Eastern Indian state of Assam, founded by Ganesh Rai Medhi in 2011.

7. Circle Theatre Company, Delhi - Circle Theatre is an independent, non-profit seeking multidisciplinary company. It brings together actors, writers, set-designers, technicians, singers, puppeteers, painter, graphic designers, video graphic artistes, cartoonists, and musicians etc. all of whom comprise its core creative team. For Circle Theatre, practice of theatre is essentially a matter of relevance. It believes that a good production is one that helps raise awareness and self-reflection amongst individuals and society as a whole. The group organizes symposiums and workshops on various facets of theatre from time to time, attends and participates in various theatre festivals, aims to contribute to the society its work while providing entertainment. The group does humanitarian work for theatre artistes in distress. In spite of its penetrating appeal to the audience, it has always been difficult to run a theatre organization. However, with their limited resources they have managed to collect 2000 books on theatre, some of which are really rare. These will be useful for a resource centre on theatre with collection of Books, CDs, Photographs, Interviews etc., which they dream to build with assistance from government and other interested agency.

Established in 2003, under the leadership of Bapi Bose, Circle Theatre is a professional theatre company which is meant for theatre of strength, courage and substance - 'theatre of cerebral excellence.'

8. Dramanon - An English language theatre group that operates out of three cities in India: Manipal, Bangalore & Hyderabad. The three chapters of Dramanon are well integrated and enjoy a strong collaborative bond apart from a common origin. To date, Dramanon has produced over 50 plays and performed over 250 shows all over the country. Established in 2000, the group was called Dramatist Anonymous (Dramanon for short) and was founded by Ramakrishna Shenoy and late Mr Chandan Shatapathy. Both were faculty members at the Manipal Institute of Technology and the Hotel management college respectively. They have won numerous awards and scholarships for its members including the inlacs scholarship, toto funds the arts award, and the AYNA theatre competition. They have also performed at various festivals and have been organizing a 12 minute short play competition for Hyderabad since 2012 called 'SKitS' (So Keep ít' Short).

9. Kohinoor Theatre - Kohinoor Theatre is a mobile theatre group of the North-Eastern Indian state of Assam, founded by Sri Ratan Lahkar in 1976. Ratan Lahkar has done significant job by performing real drama based on Indian, Assamese culture and some famous drama of Shakespeare. Kohinoor Theatre is the only Assamese mobile theatre group that has performed outside of Assam.

10. Little Theatre Group, India - The Little Theatre Group is an Indian theatre company started by Aysha Rau in 1991. It was started to promote theatre for children and tap their creative potential.

The Little Theatre Group has a membership of around 70 children between the age of 5 and 14. The Group promotes creative aptitude and talent through workshops in dance,mime,music,art and craft,drama,magic,photography,puppetry,pottery and 3-D projects conducted by professionals. The children, besides being in the workshop, also get to participate in their annual pantomime. In 2011, the Little Theatre produced the Indian Pantomime show called Alice in iLand which was played in The Museum Theatre in Chennai.

11. Natta Company - a folk theater troupe from Bengal established in 1869.

12. Padatik - Padatik Kolkata is one of the premier institutions in the field of the performing arts in India, especially in Theatre and Dance. It was founded in 1972 by the eminent Theatre Personality, Late Shyamand Jalan He was a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA) Award for Direction in 1972. He was also the vice chairman of SNA from 1999-2004. Padatik's productions, both in theatre and dance have toured extensively all over the globe. Padatik had also organized the 'International Seminar on Indian Dance Traditions and Modern Theatre' in collaboration with International Theatre Institute (UNESCO) in 1983, and the 'International Festival & Seminar on Theatre, Dance and Martial Arts' in 1987. Shyamanand Jalan's productions over the last 40 years include Evam Indrajit, Sakharam Binder, Hazar Chaurasi Ki Maa, Shakuntala, Panchhi Aise Aate Hain, Uddhwastha Dharamshala, Janata Ka Shatru, Bibiyon ka Madarsa, Adhey Adhurey, Raja Lear, Lahron Ke Rajhans & Madhavi to name just a few.

13. Sundaram Theatre Unit - A Bengali theatre group, established in 1957, by Bengali stage and film actor Manoj Mitra and director Partha Pratim Chowdhury. The company has staged more than 40 productions, including Parabas, Sajano Bagan, Alokanandar Putra Kanya.

14. Yours Truly Theatre, Bangalore - a registered (Government of Karnataka) Improvisational & Interactive Theatre Group based out of Bangalore, India, which began in 2003. Currently run by the co-founder and Artistic Director of the group, Nandini Rao. In 2012, the group performed & conducted theatre workshop across UK & Europe right from Edinburgh fringe theatre festival, European Theatre festival, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, London to The Hague - Netherlands, Zurich - Switzerland, Berlin - Germany , Paris - France ending the tour at Milano - Italy. The group was featured on BBC & PRI'S The World & Nandini Rao was also selected as the finalist of YCE - Young Creative Entrepreneur Award by British Council.

15. Anya Theatre - Led by Bibhash Chakraborty; Anya Theatre started with a bang in 1985, introduced Dario Fo on Bengali stage by producing the Italian playwright's Trumpets and Raspberries, which was followed by runway success of the folk-play Madhab Malanchi Koinya, based on Mymensingha Geetika (Ballad), a highly rated traditional folk literature of East Bengal, now Bangladesh. Produced in 1988, the production toured throughout the length & breath of the country and Bangladesh. Incidentally, Anya Theatre's Chief Director Bibhash Chakraborty was honoured with the coveted Sageet Natak Akademi Award in 1989, for his lifetime achievement as a theatre director of national repute. Anya Theatre, now considered to be one of the major theatre groups of the country, didn't have to look back from there. Apart from its regular stage productions, performances and other related activities the group can very humbly list below some of its achievements during its thirty years of existence.

16. Surabhi Theatre - a family theatre group based in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. The group performs plays based on stories from Hindu mythology and the Puranas.

17. Stray Factory - A south Indian theatre company formed in 2010 (by Mathivanan Rajendran) and based in Chennai, India. The company is an entertainment collaborative with a network of actors, writers, musicians and artists. The primary focus of the collaborative is to travel globally with original, local content. Stray Factory has performed over 20 pieces in five countries, including Australia, Dubai and Malaysia.

18. Theatre Surjya - A new mobile theatre group of the North-Eastern Indian state of Assam, founded by Munindra Barman. Productions have included Army, Bhagawan, and Dandanayak.

19. Masquerade, Chennai - Chennai based English theatre group. It is one of the few theatre groups in Chennai that survive without commercial financial sponsorship or funding from business houses or the likes, backed by public faith and smaller donorships from patrons, parents of tweens and teens who pay for training workshops. Public performances are rarely priced and income from performances are invariably through hat collections, done consciously as a tool to gauge audience appreciation of the show. Past productions include Dystopia, Incident at Twilight, Romolus the Great, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

20. The Madras Players - Indian amateur theatre group; the oldest English-language theatre group in Chennai, India. The Madras Players have staged over 240 theatre productions over more than 50 years.Group members in the early 1960s included Thambi Kadambavan, Ammu Mathew, Girish Karnad, and Stewart Melluish. In their early days, the group staged British works from Terence Rattigan, Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Osborne. In the 1970s, they turned their attention to the newly available English translations of Indian-language plays. Karnad translated his plays to English for the group, who also performed translated works of Indian playwrights like Mohan Rakesh, Vilay Tendulkar, and Gurucharan Das.

*Bonus* 21. Evam, Bangalore - Founded in 2003 by Sunil Vishnu K. and Karthik Kumar, 'evam' today is a profitable young thriving arts organization making people believe in the power of the Arts. evam is one of India's foremost Performing Arts Organizations with the mission of 'making a positive impact' in the lives of people through the medium of arts, especially theatre. evam has 4 core areas of operation- Performing Arts Creation, Arts Management, Arts Education & Behavioral Training using the Arts. evam has two companies under it - evam entertainment and Training Sideways, operating across India and Singapore.

Are you a theatre critic, writer or blogger in India and interested in writing for us? Contact christina@broadwayworld.com for more information!

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