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Multipolis Mumbai: Women and Theatre in the City

Fri, 8 Mar 6:00PM
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And though she be but little,

She is fierce.”

-William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

All the world is a stage, famously said Shakespeare, and women are an integral presence on it. In Mumbai, India’s film hub, theatre has a lasting legacy that permeates its atmosphere and forms the very bedrock of the city’s rich entertainment legacy. As opposed to the largely monolingual theatre culture of New York or London, Mumbai has a rich multilingual and multifaceted theatre milieu.

During the island city’s early days of the British, one of the earliest forms of organized entertainment to germinate in the city was theatre. During the period 1853 to 1931, Bombay developed a lively theatrical culture which included English, Marathi, Hindi, Parsi and Muslim theatre. Today, theatre is alive and well, and as popular as ever in the city with an estimated 1500 plays held each month in diverse languages and dialects covering a variety of subjects. The city boasts iconic Theatre venues like Prithvi, Royal Opera House, NCPA, Sophia’s, Andrews and Rang Sharda etc. and has a thriving community of theatre professional groups, schools, afficianados & critics and loyalists. What role, in this sophisticated ecosystem, do women play? How have women on stage -and off- contributed to enriching and enlivening this burgeoning thespian culture in the city and develop stagecraft to what it is today?

The description of the discussion is as below:

NGMA Mumbai and Ministry of Culture, Government of India and Avid Learning present Multipolis Mumbai: Women and Theatre in the City. In celebration of International Women’s Day 2019, this panel discussion will take a closer look at the Thespian history and legacy of the city with a focus on the women of theatre in Bombay.

Theatre Director and Chairperson of National School of Drama Amal Allana, Stage Actor and Co-Founder of Theatre Company Rage, Shernaz Patel, Stage Actor and Founder of Theatre Company Ikigai Ishitta Arun and Film and Theatre Director and Founder, theatre group, Rangayan Dr. Vijaya Mehta will be in conversation with Theatre and Film Critic and Author Deepa Gahlot.

While there is a wealth of information on the contributions, craft and innovations of men on the stage- the women who were part of the cultural fabric of the theatre were excluded from history. Previously unwritten narratives of leading ladies of theatre, like Munni Bai, Mukhtar Begum, Jahanara Kajjan and Moti Bai are key in understanding modern cultural history and their pioneering efforts are now being unearthed and studied in academia. What are some of the cross-narratives intersecting between women, performance, nationhood, the formation of cultural identity and modernity?

Apart from the historic pioneers on the Indian Stage, what have more contemporary contributions to the industry been from the fairer sex? What are some of the significant achievements and challenges face by woman thespians, directors, producers, designers and playwrights? What are the theatrical subcultures and ideologies dedicated to or populated by women? What are the particular types of theatre (Feminist, socially relevant, experimental and ideological) that have emerged from women’s empowerment in this field? How have evolving gender politics and the current climate of shifting gender parities affected the industry? How have notions like the role feminine consciousness in subverting the male gaze played a part in breaking the glass ceiling within the discipline and paved the way for more nuanced, sophisticated and experimental forms of acting, writing and theatre-making?

This talk will be part of our Multipolis Mumbai Series that decodes the past while looking to the future and finding novel ways of engaging, interacting with and reenergizing the city that we love! In this second round we seek to plumb new depths and unearth more fascinating nuggets about our ever-surprising Mumbai! This series was begun and had a successful run in 2012 and we revived it in June 2017. In the second iteration, we seek to go deeper! We've had panels on the re-haul of our historic precincts, the role of the business families of Bombay and looking at the city through a child's eyes. We then facilitated discussions around how art institutions and practitioners in the city are harnessing the power of tech, how poets and women writers engage with and write about the city, about wildlife in the city and the role of technology in protection of local bio-diversity, and a discussion delving into the virtual and digital world of gaming, its relationship with art and the gaming culture in the city. We also held workshops that looked more closely at celebrated Mumbai architecture (namely Art Deco, Indo Saracenic and Victorian Gothic). We also held panels on the role of philanthropic individuals and institutions and on mapping towns within the city, as well a discussion on heritage textiles, interior finishes and the Swadeshi movement in the context of Mumbai. Most recently, we’ve taken a closer look at the Maritime history of Mumbai and its relationship with the Sea.

Join us for a fascinating look into the unique role of women in Mumbai’s theatrical culture in celebration of International Women’s Day.
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Terms & Conditions

Terms & Conditions
Please carry a valid ID proof along with you.

No refunds on purchased ticket are possible, even in case of any rescheduling.

Security procedures, including frisking remain the right of the management.

No dangerous or potentially hazardous objects including but not limited to weapons, knives, guns, fireworks, helmets, lazer devices, bottles, musical instruments will be allowed in the venue and may be ejected with or without the owner from the venue.

The sponsors/performers/organizers are not responsible for any injury or damage occurring due to the event. Any claims regarding the same would be settled in courts in Mumbai.

People in an inebriated state may not be allowed entry.

Venue rules apply.


Map & Directions

Map & Directions
National Gallery Of Modern Art Sir Cowasji Jahangir Public Hall, M G Road, Fort, Mantralaya, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400032
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opera, william shakespeare, amal allana, deco, modern art, marathi, shakespeare, panel discussion, politics, history, cultural history, academia, new york, jahangir, modernity, wildlife, cultural identity, ncpa, consciousness, gender, acting, maritime history, muslim, arts and culture, vijaya mehta, government, concerts and shows, plays and theatres, adventure activities, theatre, classes and workshops, outdoors, talks, acting Classes And Workshops, acting classes & workshops,