“All the world’s a stage,” affirmed the Bard of Avon. We can’t disagree, especially watching the drama of daily life unfold every single day.
From Yakshagana to Behrupiyas, India has a wealth of theatrical tradition strewn across her states, languishing in need of financial support and patrons. Even modern theatre performers can’t escape the “struggling, poor artist” trope.
This World Theatre Day (March 27) gather your friends on a weekend and celebrate the art form of theatre by catching a play at any of these spectacular venues in your city.
1. Oddbird Theatre, Delhi
Located amidst the eerily quiet environs of Qutub Minar and Mehrauli, Oddbird is Delhi’s newest addition to its plethora of cultural venues.
Beautiful interiors and large windows make up this experimental space, which also has a cafe. The performance art theatre has a grungy, minimal aesthetic that goes well with the art form.
Upcoming events here.
2. Akshara Theatre, Delhi
A unique arts complex set in Mandi House — Delhi’s theatre district. At Akshara, the outdoor amphitheatre (Pipal Tree) and the indoor venue (Katha Theatre) are usually bustling on any given day.
The latter is known for its A-grade acoustics and cosy, wood-finished ambience that holds less than a hundred spectators.
Check out upcoming events at this prime cultural institution.
3. The Royal Opera House, Mumbai
India’s last surviving Opera House finished in 1911 suffered a long period of decline, and has been recently restored to its past splendour.
Blending European and Indian design, the architecture and interiors are superb enough to just buy a ticket to gawk. Even the restrooms are fabulous! ROH also has a cool, new-age bar and restaurant on campus.
Step into the Victorian era and feel truly royal by catching an upcoming event here.
4. Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai
No theatre list can ever be complete without mentioning this granddaddy of performing arts spaces.
Built in 1978, this timeless institution has birthed several current and former Bollywood film stars.
Prithvi Theatre has the country’s busiest calendar of upcoming events, so there’s no reason to not check it out, if you haven’t already. The outdoor cafe is a crowd favourite and yet another gem in Prithvi’s glorious crown.
5. Ranga Shankara, Bangalore
The city’s cultural capital, Ranga Shankara is a space raised in homage to Shankar Nag, one of Kannada cinema’s greatest actors.
The theatre is known for its “a play a day” policy and tickets that don’t cost more than Rs 250. Natural acoustics and a huge 1750 sq ft stage compliment the play-watching experience.
The annual theatre festival is a big draw. Upcoming events and more info can be found on their Facebook page.
6. Lamakaan, Hyderabad
A modest venue in a modest city, Lamakaan defined “modern cultural space” in Hyderabad and has been going strong year after year.
I remember watching a humble play here, seated outdoors under a gigantic tree, many years back. The small pantry serves excellent samosas and snacks unique to the Nizami city.
Apart from being a performing arts space, they also hold talks, theatre, writing and filmmaking workshops, along with an organic bazaar on some weekends.
Upcoming events here.
Image Credit: Mumbailive