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Using dramaturgy as a multi-level advanced training program promotes dramaturgical practice in the theater scene in India.

The Goethe-Institute / Max Mueller Bhavans Bangalore and Kolkata have long been closely linked to the theater cultures of their respective cities. Their focus is often on acting, directing or music. After a discussion about the necessity of dramaturgy has arisen in recent years, this advanced training course conveys dramaturgical concepts and principles for the first time and an attempt to translate them into practice in India.

Sophia Stepf (Artistic Director, Flinn Works) and Jehan Manekshaw (Headmaster, Drama School Mumbai) developed Using Dramaturgy in response to this discussion and as a source of ongoing research and application of dramaturgical concepts across the subcontinent.

In a first stage, 24 experienced theater professionals took part in ten-day workshops in the Arts Acre in Kolkata and in Visthar in Bangalore. The following video provides an insight into the structure, the discussions and the results.

© Goethe-Institut Kolkata & Goethe-Institut Bangalore

In 2020, Using Dramaturgy responded to the COVID 19 pandemic. In the second stage, 24 productions should be worked out, which the participants * supervise dramaturgically. Some of these cannot take place and are now conceptual tasks for the budding dramaturg. German dramaturges were able to be won as mentors for this level, including Martine Dennewald, Sandra Umathum, Felizitas Stilleke, Max-Phillip Aschenbrenner. Complete and dramaturgically elaborated projects receive a small grant from the Goethe-Institut Bangalore.

At the same time, a series of lectures will be held by dramaturges and theater professionals from all over the world (including Jocelyn Clarke, Mwenya Kabwe, Daniel Wetzel), who will discuss their experiences and insights with the participants. This deepens and expands the dramaturgical practice to include global perspectives.

We invite you to take a look at the biographies of the participants below. Please contact us if you want to work with trained dramaturg in your rehearsals.


© Sophia StepfSophia Stepfis a qualified dramaturge at the University of Music and Theater Leipzig. She has been working as a dramaturge, director and curator for twenty years and heads the independent company Flinn Works. She looks back on broad experience in project work in India (e.g. for Ranga Shankara, NSD, Prithvi, FLAME, Theater Professionals), often in cooperation with the Goethe-Instituts in India.
© Götz LeineweberGötz Leineweber studied ethnology and philosophy at the University of Cologne and postgraduate cultural journalism at the University of the Arts in Berlin. Since 2004 he has worked as a dramaturge, first at the Volksbühne in Berlin (2004-07), at the Schauspiel Köln (2007-13) and at the Residenztheater Munich (2013-19). Since 2015 he has been teaching "dramaturgy and theater history" at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and "storytelling" at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.
© Jehan ManekshawJehan Manekshawis director of the Drama School Mumbai and co-founder of Theater Professionals. Jehan is in charge of teaching and teaching the 30 teachers and guest lecturers (including many personalities from Indian theater). He designs and develops tailor-made programs through which schools are equipped with theater-pedagogical methods. He also designed projects for the education sector for the Goethe-Institut / MMB in India. Jehan has taught as a visiting professor at universities and performing arts institutions throughout India and around the world. He holds an MFA in Theater Directing from Birkbeck College, University of London and a BA in Theater and International Relations from Wesleyan University, CT, USA.


© Amba-Suhasini Katoch JhalaAmba is an actress and director based outside of Delhi. She holds a Bachelor in Professional Acting from LAMDA and has acted in and directed plays in India and abroad. Her recent directorate projects include Futureproof by Linda Radley (2017), The Infant by Oliver Lansley (2013) and Agamemnon by Steven Berkoff (2012).
In her acting role, she has appeared in her own plays as well as numerous Shakespeare plays, including As You Like It (Delhi), A Winter’s Tale (Delhi), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Crystal Shakespeare Ensemble, Wales). She is currently involved in two projects, The Raveling (Walkabout Theater, Chicago) and Sonnets (Guild of the Goat, Delhi).
She is the founder and artistic director of Guild of the Goat, a Delhi-based theater company.

Contact: [email protected]
© Gautam Sarkar Gautam Sarkar is a Kolkata-based playwright, director, and actor. Although his main interest is in the theater, he also gained significant experience in camera work both as an actor and director. He has worked in the theater sector since the 1990s and has performed in Delhi, Allahabad, Bangalore and Kolkata. Recent successes include Yasmina Reza’s Art (which he also directed), Don-Takey Bhalo Lagey (directed by Sujan Mukhopadhyay) and Sodanonder Songsar (directed by Srinath Pal). In addition, he worked at the Theater Ocean Nord and the Summer University in Brussels and wrote a collection of Bengali poems entitled Naroke Parobaas (2019), published by Chhona Prokashani, Kolkata.
In 2010, Gautam Sarkar received a research fellowship from the Indian Government's Ministry of Culture for, Reflection of Subaltern of Neo-liberalization Era in Modern Bengali Theater ’.

Contact: [email protected]
© Janardan Ghosh Janardan Ghosh is a research fellow at the Institute for Sanskrit and Philosophy, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Belur and is a teacher in the department for communication and English there.
He is also a key member of the teaching staff at the Institute for Drama at Surendranath College, Calcutta University, Kolkata and advisor for theater studies at the MCKV School, Liluah. He has also worked as a course instructor and performance designer for the Padatik Theater, Kolkata. He is currently Artistic Director of Culture Monks, Kolkata and Secretary & Founding Board of Organization to Give Life a Meaning, (OGLAM) Bally, Howrah. In addition, he is co-editor of the Bengali theater journal Natyameva.
Janardan Ghosh is often used as a consultant for the training and preparation of performers, professionals, executives, teachers and young people. He is a freelance actor (theater and film), filmmaker and an enthusiastic dramaturge. He enjoys participating in intercultural dialogues, contemporary performance art,, katha-koli ‘- interpretations and spiritual explorations.

Contact: [email protected]
© Mohsina Akhter Mohsina Akhter is an independent theater maker from Bangladesh. In this role she is both an actress, a designer (set design, lighting and costumes) and a director. She also teaches as a faculty member in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies, University of Dhaka and at the Department of Theater at Jagannath University. Mohsina is a founding member of a professional theater company called Spardha; she has a master's degree in theater studies from the University of Dhaka and a second in theater directing from the Russian University of Theater Arts (GITIS, Moscow).
Her most recent successes include an adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist with the title Aleya Twist (costume designer), Shahidul Zahirs Jiban O Rajnaitik Bastabata (actress, costume designer and dramaturge), a Bengali translation by Abhishek Majumdars Rizwan (actress and assistant director), a Bengali translation by Mohan Rakesh's Ashad Ka Ek Din (costume designer), Rabindranath Tagores Shesh Raksha (director, set designer), and a Bengali translation of Clifford Odets' Waiting for Lefty (director, set and lighting designer).

Contact: [email protected]
© Navamita Chandra With her ensemble Dramatically Correct, Navamita has been active in the theater sector since 2015. She has relevant experience in developing productions and street theater pieces to draw attention to different topics, such as the oppression of women, menstrual hygiene, disabilities, etc. Many of these pieces took place in collaboration with NGOs and organizations such as DITO, Nirman Foundation and Youth 4 Jobs Foundation.
Under the mentoring of the writer and actor Shuddhasatya Ghosh, she dabbled in the art of Brechtian theater and brought real-life rape incidents that her ensemble had to face on the stage. The audience in the auditorium was involved between the scenes in order to create a dialogue on issues of systematic gender-specific oppression. Navamita has also worked with ensembles such as The Red Curtain and Bibhaban-The Experimental theater troupe.
In 2018 and 2019 she traveled to Yangon, Myanmar, to conduct a one-month, workshop-based theater course for the students of the pre-collegial program of Yangon. The course ended with the students' public productions.

Contact: [email protected]
© Nikita Teresa SarkarNikita holds a degree in stage design and directing from the National School of Drama. Her journey to the theater began with her summer school, the Hamilton School of Arts in Edinburgh. She is very interested in gender politics, identity constructs, green living and mindfulness and also addresses these topics in her art. Her work has also been influenced by the power of immersive experiences; she sees her audience as active participants rather than passive observers. When not curating experiences, she spends her time in the mountains, working on zero plastic projects in schools, and practicing sound healing techniques. She also studied the traditions of Bauls and Tibetan singing. She is currently preparing for her M. Phil degree in Performance Studies at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.

Contact: [email protected]
© Padma DamodaranPadma is an actress, director, writer and educator based in Mumbai. She owns her own theater production company, Red Earth Stories, and directed and acted its first production, Yasmina Reza's The Unexpected Man. Her latest film, Aani Mani (written and directed by Fahim Khan), in which she also took on a role, was shown at the Jio Mami Film Festival in October 2019.
She also directed Shivam Sharma's film Given, which deals with the abuse of boys, for Writer's Bloc Festival, organized by Rage Productions Mumbai and the Royal Court Theater UK. In London she wrote, directed and produced the theater-burlesque clubbing show Black Snow. She also wrote the script for her solo play Motipori: the Magic of Me, in which she also starred. In addition, she wrote the script for and starred in the film Parindey, which was produced by Lok Sabha Television and shot in the Tihar Jail Women's Prison.
Padma holds a Masters Degree in Acting from East 15 Acting School UK. She is the founder / co-organizer of the Drama School, Mumbai. She is a former business journalist and trained singer and dancer.

Contact: [email protected]
© Radhika Chopra Radhika Chopra is a trained actress and writer with a B.A. in Theater and Gender & Sexuality Studies from Sarah Lawrence College, New York. As part of her training, she also studied at the British American Drama Academy, a theater school in London. She currently lives in Mumbai, where she directs a theater company called Tricycle Productions, for which she helped develop an adaptation of Ismat Chugtais Lihaaf for the stage, which premiered in 2016 as part of Thespo18 at the Prithvi Theater. Her repertoire includes acting collaborations with theater companies all over Bombay, such as The Company Theater, Patchworks Ensemble, AkVarious etc. She has also participated in short films and TV commercials for Airtel, Society Tea, Fbb etc. She also teaches theater and Culture Studies at Whistling Woods International, Mumbai, and several charitable and educational venues across Kolkata. She is currently co-writing her first feature film.

Contact: [email protected]
© Shakir Tasnim Shakir Tasnim is Assistant Professor at the Department of Performing Arts at Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi. He began his theater career at SRC, New Delhi and obtained his Masters degree in Theater Arts from the University of Mumbai in 2005. In 2012 he completed his M. Phil on the subject of “Impact of Epic Theater on Urdu Drama” at the JNU, New Delhi. In 2018 he received a scholarship to participate in the Odin Week Festival (under Eugenio Barba & Roberta Carreri), organized by Odin Teatret, Holstebro, Denmark. He played and directed pieces such as Madhyam Vyayog, Ashadh Ka Ek Din, Panchhi Aise Aate Hain, Enemy of the People, Rise and Fall of City of Mahogany, Ankahi Shuruaat, Court Martial, Waiting for Godot, Saari Raat, Doosra Adhyay and worked with important theater professionals such as Waman Kendre, Devendra Raj Ankur, Anamika Haksar, Hema Singh and Mushtaq Kak.

Contact: [email protected]
© Sigma UpadhyaySigma is a theater maker from Raipur, Chhattisgarh, who works primarily in Hindi, English and Chhattisgarhi. She is the daughter of esteemed theater personalities Anita and Vibhash Upadhyay and a former student of the Madhya Pradesh School of Drama, Bhopal.
Her main merits include Arsenic and old lace, Yayati, A Woman Alone, Baatein, Hamu ta Manasa re, Harsingar, Seven Steps around the Fire and Mricchkatikam. She has worked closely with directors such as Sanjay Upadhyay, Vibhash Upadhyay, R'jesh Bali, Mahesh Dattani, Alok Chaterjee, Alakh Nandan, Kanhaiya Lal Kaithwas and Devendra Raj Ankur.
Sigma is a learner and voracious reader who hates to cook.

Contact: [email protected]
© Sukriti KhuranaSukriti is a theater director who lives outside of Delhi. With her master's degree in Performance Studies from Ambedkar University, she has already directed numerous productions, including Enter At Your Own Risk - A play in a few scenes showing sanity and insanity performed by the actors as inmates of the National Paagalkhaana - By Order of Toba Tek Singh , a play based on Sa'adat Hasan Manto's short stories Khol Do, Sharifan, Toba Tek Singh and Thanda Gosht; Noon Chai, an adaptation of the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Agla Station Lok Kalyan Marg Hai, an experimental piece based on poems from Rajesh Joshis.
In 2018 she wrote under the supervision of Gargi Bharadwaj and supervised by Dr. Anuradha Kapur wrote her thesis entitled 'Performance as transformation: Exploring questions of friendship, desire and community (affinities) in women's collegiate theater practices in Delhi' academic theater practice of women in Delhi).
Sukriti has a keen interest in theater of the oppressed and has worked with groups such as Vikalp Kriya (a Delhi-Mumbai-based organization that explores sustainable alternatives and engages in cultural expression and action), the Center for Community Dialogue and Change, Bangalore and in this context with Jaya Iyer (founder of Lunar Energy, a Delhi-based theater, environmental and cultural collective).

Contact: [email protected]
© Yengkhom Boycha Yengkhom Boycha completed his Masters in 2015 at the Institute of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics. He then came into contact with practice-based art as a teacher at the School of Culture and Creative Expression, Ambedkar University.
After completing his master's degree in literary arts from Ambedkar University, he took part in a one-year residency course in acting at the NSD in Sikkim. Inspired by theater and cultural ensembles such as The Freedom Theater, Jenin, he himself is working on setting up an artist collective in Imphal.
Recently, in collaboration with Zubaan Publication, he designed a short performance on the subject of sexual violence and impunity.
He is currently working with the Ashoka and Umbilical Theaters and simultaneously researching the concept and practice of 'theater in education' in the context of the existing elementary school and high school system in Manipur.

Contact: [email protected]


© Akhshay Gandhi Akhshay Gandhi is a theater artist, director and writer who is engaged in the design of theater and the research of performance practices.He is the founder and director of the Still Space Theater in Bangalore. As an actor, he has worked in a wide variety of productions, from realistic works to movement performances. As a theater creator, he prefers collaborative and interdisciplinary approaches that are driven by extensive research and exploration in the preparation of performances. He is a graduate of Odin Teatret, Denmark and the SITI Company, NYC and has also received theater training from the Indian Ensemble, Adishakti & Theater Professionals and movement training from Veena Basavarajaiah. His most recent works (Kaavad Katha, Clearing the rubble, In Place of ..., Faustus’s Dream and Burn my Diaries) have been performed at numerous venues in Bangalore, Mumbai and the USA.

Contact: [email protected]
© Anshuman AcharyaAnshuman is a writer and playwright who lives outside of Bangalore.

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© Asim Siddiqui Asim Siddiqui is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Azim Premji University Bangalore. In his role as teacher, scientist and socio-cultural mediator, he works on issues that deal with cultural and ecological justice. In doing so, he refers to numerous philosophical traditions from India and beyond in the context of both intellectual and embodied practices. His doctorate and current educational experiments dealt with the development of an aesthetic-contemplative pedagogy to deal with contemporary socio-political issues. Outside the university, he conducts dramaturgy, advisory and experimental workshops for various art and development organizations. Earlier in his life, he worked with NGOs and technology start-ups and obtained his bachelor's degree from IIT Delhi.

Contact: [email protected]
© Ayesha Susan Thomas Ayesha Susan Thomas is a theater educator who mainly deals with the creative interfaces between education, gender and sexuality. Until June 2019 she taught IBDP / IGCSE theater at the Dhirubhai Ambani International School in Mumbai. She also worked as a workshop moderator, dramaturge (The Inspire Passion Project 2014) and as a leader for various projects.
In a previous life she curated the literary section at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival Mumbai and performed as a Christmas elf at an amusement park near Bradford. She has an MA in Theater and Global Development from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom and a BA in English Literature from the University of Mumbai.

Contact: [email protected]
© Basav BiradarBasav is a freelance scientist, writer, documentary filmmaker and theater maker. He also teaches theater and film studies at Azim Premji University in Bengaluru. He has a deep fascination for history, the performing arts and cinema. On the weekends, he and his tour group hold Historywallahs Heritage Walks and guided tours. His most recent theater production was the Kannada adaptation of Lutz Huebner's German play Creeps, entitled Crazy Girls Season One. His first documentary was about the production of the play Muktidham. In his previous life, he worked in the world of technology for 13 years. He lives in Bengaluru.

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© Irawati KarnikIrawati is a short story writer, translator and playwright. She wrote the plays Gasha, Satellite City, and C Sharp C Blunt. Her Marathi pieces include Teech Ti Diwali, Mrugacha Paus, Vadani Kavala Gheta and Chhapa Kata, which has already been shown in more than 200 performances in Maharashtra. Irawati was the dramaturge on the award-winning play Kaumudi and was involved in the production of Thook and Sex, Morality and Censorship. Her translations have been published by Oxford University Press. She is part of the faculty at the Drama School Mumbai, where she heads the Research & Practice Department. Her independent professional activity includes researching and documenting contemporary Indian art. Occasionally she works as an illustrator.

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© Kalyani HiwaleKalyani has extensive experience in theater education and has taught drama in schools for more than 17 years. She mainly taught at international schools and also designed drama curricula for numerous other schools in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.
In recent years she has developed the Using Drama for Learning program aimed at teachers in elementary and middle schools. The program enables ordinary teachers to use acting activities to teach other subjects. For the past three years, Kalyani has conducted these training courses in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.
She also supported several theater workshops with NGOs such as Sneha, Akshara and Apnalaya, who work with victims of domestic violence, youth groups and children with HIV-infected parents.

Contact: [email protected]
© Nisha Abdulla Nisha Abdulla is a playwright and director based outside Bangalore. She began her artistic journey by writing short films as well as training and performances in playback and the theater of the oppressed. This was followed by acting roles in both classical and collectively elaborated productions. In recent years she has focused exclusively on writing and directing plays. Her dramaturgy successes include Mi'raj (produced by Indian Ensemble Studio), Blue is the Color I cry (on the long list of The Hindu Playwright Award 2017), Big Pink Sky and Two Degrees (pieces for young audiences ). Her successes as a director include Koottu (non-verbal, for young audiences), Ashk Neele Hain Mere (performed in Hindustani) and Orchestra on the Moon (an experiment in textual and physical theater). Nisha is also the artistic director of the Qabila collective, which has set itself the task of finding deeper artistic resistance to the current climate of socio-political polarities.

Contact: [email protected]
© Tanvi ShahTanvi Shah is a multilingual theater maker from Bombay, India. She worked as a director, author and editor, documenter of oral narratives and archivist of theater history as well as dramaturge, curator of art experiences, as an Indian folk dancer and leader of literary encounters. She also worked - as a trainee and employee - with theater ensembles such as the CRY HAVOC Company (New York), The Woodstock Players (New York), Tamaasha and Arpana Theaters (Mumbai), Junoon Theater (Mumbai) and the Indian Ensemble (Bangalore) . She was one of seven people trained under the Indian Ensemble’s Directors ’Training Program 2017-2018. Tanvi received a grant from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - ranked 5th in the world's best performing arts training programs - and completed her Masters in Theater Directing (Classical and Contemporary Text) in September 2019. She was one of four students selected for this course. The master’s course included a one-month residency at Shakespeare’s Globe, London and culminated in a director's performance on the main stage.
Tanvi approaches theater - a form that takes up all of her thoughts - as an investigation of identities, stories, languages ​​and perspectives.

Contact: [email protected]
© Venkatesh Prasad Venkatesh Prasad is a Bangalore-based writer and director who works in the Kannada-speaking theater. Notable pieces he directed include a Kannada adaptation of Chekhov's Der Kirschgarten and Vijay Tendulkar's Mitrachi Ghoshta, which was adapted into Kannada as Ondu Preetiya Kathe. In both cases he worked on the translation of the works himself.
In addition, he was a member of Samudaya and Ranga Shankara for several years, where he directed, coordinated and acted in their numerous productions, tours and festivals. He is currently the artistic director of the Bangalore Theater Collective.

Contact: [email protected]
© Vikrant Dhote Vikrant Dhote is an actor, writer and filmmaker. He has a B.A. in English literature from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and studied at the London International School of Performing Arts.
His acting work includes Shikhandi - The Story of the In-Betweens (nominated for Best Supporting Actor and winner of the Best Complete Works at the Mahindra Excellence in Theater Awards 2018) and 07/07/07 (Best Complete Works at the META 2016). His solo theater show Dekho Magar Pyaar Se was brought to life with the help of the 2015 Gender Bender Grant (with the support of the Goethe Institute and the Sandbox Collective). Vikrant was the creative director for Outrageous! (Mumbai 2017, London 2018) of the ivo-Theater, which commissions and curates theatrical works with queer themes from queer artists.
His first short film, Any Other Day (screenwriter, co-director, actor) won the award for Best Young Director at the KASHISH MIQFF as well as the APQFFA award for Best Short Film in Taiwan in November 2017 and was shortlisted for the Toto Funds the Arts Awards 2016. His second short film, Ajay (developed with the help of the Humsafar Trust Media Fellowship) won an award for Best Narrative Short Film at the KASHISH MIQFF 2018 and was a finalist of the IRIS Prize (Cardiff, 2018).

Contact: [email protected]
© Vishnu NarainVishnu is a theater producer living outside of Bangalore. He has almost 10 years of experience as an actor and director and is currently training as a dramatist. Most of his work deals with topics from epistemology, philosophy of politics, science and mathematics as well as thought experiments on futurisms. He is heavily influenced by the popular and classical forms of Kerala, by Khayal, the poetry of Kunjan Nambiar and graphic science fiction novels. Most of his work is in Hindi, Malayalam and English, with the hope of one day creating works in Manipravalam. He received his formal training in theater from the Indian Ensemble’s Directors Training Program and the Bhasha Center’s Playwrighting Program.
Among other things, he deals with the design of works that remove the rigidity of performance and observation norms and create interactions in performance spaces and also produce presentations / simulations of our experiences in urban space, a balance in the economic sector and in game theory. Any of his biographies would be incomplete without mentioning his passion for Liverpool FC.

Contact: [email protected]