A guide to Delhi’s vibrant theater landscape: plays, theater groups, archives, and more.

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Offering an exquisite range of theater and performing arts, the nation’s capital captures the true spirit of India’s evolving theater scene. Delhi is a city that explores various mediums of storytelling with a vibrant display of cultures from across India. Booming with multiple influences, it’s the perfect place for theater-goers to catch live performances, attend immersive workshops, interact with industry stalwarts, and even delve into the archives with a comprehensive collection of Indian theater history.

The range highlights the wealth and variety of theatrical knowledge available in the city. Here is a local guide that covers different theater and performance experiences to grab in Delhi.

Image Courtesy: Takhleeq Theater Group

I. Takhleeq Theater Group

Embedded in exploratory learning, the New Delhi-based Takhleeq Theater Group aims to create a space for artists to build an expressive society. Founded in 2016, the group specializes in theater but offers a diverse experience while creating and supporting all art forms. In order to expand the theater beyond the four walls, the group actively seeks collaborations with individual artists and groups to share the limelight. Considering theater as a therapeutic and cathartic process, they imagined productions such as “Waqfa”, “Body for sale” and “Sipahi aur Maut”; inspired by basic learning and believes in creating a platform for people to tell their own stories. Finally, the group also offers multiple workshops that divulge the art of stage writing as well as specialized courses for children.

Learn more about their performances and upcoming shows here.

II. Habitat Center of India

You cannot fully explore the beauty that resides in the cultural capital without visiting the India Habitat Centre. I invite you to visit this beautifully constructed institution; is home to many events, exhibitions and performances that take place daily. The soothing ambience is the perfect meeting place to immerse yourself in art and culture. Established in 1993, their Greek-inspired amphitheater and Stein Auditorium regularly host theatrical performances and documentary screenings. Featured in the iconic film, ‘Rang De Basanti’, India’s top performing arts center celebrates an annual theater festival with plays by Delhi practitioners. Additionally, their habitat film club promises moviegoers a rich lineup of meaningful and entertaining films from around the world, masterclasses, retrospectives and interactive sessions with directors, producers and actors.

Learn more about their performances and upcoming shows here.

Image Courtesy: Alkazi Theater Archives

III. Alkazi Theater Archives

Dedicated to the preservation and study of India’s cultural history, the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts has amassed records relating to post-independence theater in India in the form of the Alkazi Theater Archive (ATA). This is the perfect place to visit as a theater lover to understand the past and present of performance art across the country. The private collection includes photographs and printed materials in the form of original screenplays, director’s notes, brochures, reviews, seminar papers, theater magazines and audio-visual material including interviews, rehearsals and performances . The archives will also allow productions to be contextualized within broader social, cultural and political histories. In addition, the foundation organizes individual exhibitions throughout the year to also provide a contemporary context.

Learn more about the archive and its upcoming performances here.

IV. National School of Dramatic Arts

One of the main theater training institutions in the country is funded by the Ministry of Culture. In addition to being a school with an intensive program of theatrical practice, which takes into account the methods of great theater personalities who have shaped contemporary theater in all its variety, they also offer multiple avenues of learning. Open to foreigners, their exclusive workshops cover a variety of residential programs. They also offer workshops focused on production as well as courses focused on set design. If you are looking for interesting plays to see in the city, the students also regularly present their theatrical productions to the public.

To learn more about their upcoming workshops and plays, click here.

While in Delhi, you should look for independent productions taking place at various theaters in the city, such as Lok Kala Manch, Sur Tal Open Theatre, Kamani Auditorium and Shri Ram Centre. You can find information about upcoming games here.

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