In July 2013, Theatre Professionals founded The Drama School, Mumbai. A school in the heart of South Mumbai, its two-fold aim: to forge a new generation of theatre makers; individuals who see themselves as actor-creator-entrepreneurs, who will go on in their careers to perform, create and produce work to a new standard of storytelling, and to promote the awareness of theatre and its processes to a wider audience interested in exploring and understanding the medium for themselves.
Our different curriculum and course formats, from the full-time One Year Certificate Course, to the shorter specialist engagements such as the 4 week long Indian Theatre Programme, Masterclasses and part-time evening course modules has emerged out of a desire by a large number of practicing theatre artists/teachers to create a new standard of teaching. Training that is rigorous, focused and that demands a high level of commitment from both the teacher and the pupil.
Everything we attempt at The Drama School, Mumbai, is put together by a faculty who bring the best practices in teaching that they themselves experienced during their own training, which they now use to create our course structures. This faculty work together collaboratively, and design course formats, structures and curriculum through methods that we evolved from our experiences of conducting multiple workshops and other training projects over the last five years.
The Drama School, Mumbai was born out of an urgent need. At a time formal contemporary training in the craft of theatre in India is sorely lacking, and opportunities to go abroad to other centres of dramatic excellence is out of reach for many. Fortunately, we are now at a time where a critical mass of highly-accomplished, highly-trained drama instructors (all of whom actively and regularly perform as well) are located in Mumbai, and jointly are ready and excited to come together as the faculty to make this programme a reality.
The One year certificate course in Acting and Theatre-Making is a formal programme of learning for 18 individuals each year, keen to pursue a career in Theatre and the related performing arts.
This highly intensive full-time programme is designed to lay down the foundation skills and knowledge in acting, creation, and entrepreneurship. The pillars with which individuals can become successful theatre makers after graduation.
The teaching methodologies of the school are informed by best practices from both Indian and western pedagogy; the curriculum structure is designed based on those inspired by practices at some of the best drama schools across the world.
Students who graduate from this course are inculcated with core values of integrity, learning as a lifelong process, and are taught to build their craft with rigour, focus, and discipline as fundamental to their work ethic as theatre makers.
To explore the course in detail…
The India Theatre Programme is a unique 4 week-long training and creation programme that takes participants from across the world on an exploration of traditional Indian theatre practices and their relevance to contemporary theatre creation.
It will run from 2nd July 2016 to 31st July 2016, and is aimed at international performers, students studying theatre full-time, and performance makers with a minimum of 2-3 years of training in theatre and/or performance, or the equivalent in experience.Read More
Theatre Professionals conducts a range of workshops throughout the year by actor-teachers from across the country and the world. Our workshops are known for their intense focus, rigorous demands, and for giving participants opportunity to deeply engage with various forms of performance and acting.
Each of these experiences, while highly specific in subject-nature, always leave participants with new skills and understandings that they take back into their own practice.
The Drama School, Mumbai is thankful to have the support of these organisations who believe in our idea and vision
The Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangha (MMSS) was established in 1935 for the purpose of nurturing and spreading Marathi literature and culture in Mumbai. It was founded under the leadership of Dr. Amrut Narayan Bhalerao – whom the main theatre is named after. This, is the story of how they went from this small group, to having this amazing theatre in the heart of Girgaum.
In the initial years, the work of the MMSS was confined to holding annual literary festivals across Mumbai and its suburbs. But everything changed, when in 1944 the MMSS organised a grand theatre festival at Marine Lines to mark the centenary celebrations of Marathi Theatre. They designed the festival to be affordable and accessible to audiences from the largely Marathi neighbourhoods of Girgaum. The festival recaptured the imagination of audiences who were being increasingly lured to Cinema, and created an affordable and accessible venue for literary and theatrical activities in the Girgaum area. The festival has been held since then.
The MMSS went on to establish a repertory ensemble, becoming the professionally producing theatre company in Mumbai at the time. They took the place of actor-manager-owned companies – which had suffered a decline due to actors moving on to cinema, and started to bring back success in the way of legendary personalities from Marathi theatre and screen like Bal Gandharva, Ganapatrao Bodas, Nanasaheb Phatak and Keshavrao Date. They produced highly successful plays – such as P. L. Deshpande’s Ammaldar (1952), Tujhe Aahe Tujpashi (1957) and Sundar Mee Honar (1958). And revived works of masters like G. B. Deval, R.G. Gadakari, Acharya P. K. Atre and Mama Warerkar.
What they did next was unprecedented in today’s cultural climate. They used the proceeds earned from these performances to acquire land in Kelewadi, Girgaon, and to build a grand modern auditorium on it. Designed along the lines of the old-vic theatre in London, the auditorium was inaugurated in 1964 – giving Marathi theatre got a home of its own.
Their pioneering work continued through the 60’s – they encouraged playwrights like V.V. Shirwadkar, P. L. Deshpande and Vijay Tendulkar, C. Y. Marathe, Vishram Bedekar and created a brigade of new directors like Daji Bhatavadekar, Damu Kenkre, Vijaya Mehta, Arvind Deshpande and Madhav Watve. They also introduced western classics to Marathi audience by producing works of Shakespeare, Moliere, Brecht and Ibsen. In the year 1974, MMSS’s adaptation of Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle participated in Brecht Festival in Berlin.
In an attempt to continue the professionalisation and enrichment of Theatre, in the year 1968, MMSS started Amrut Natya Bharati, the first theatre training institute in Maharashtra – instrumental in providing talent to Marathi stage. However, in the 1980’s onwards, with the migration of Marathi population northward to Dadar and other suburbs, the traditional audiences of the MMSS started to decline and with it, the MMSS’s activities.
However, marked with the same desire to innovate and reinvent according to the needs of the time, as they did in 1944 and through the 60’s and 70’s – creating entire movements of theatre in the process, the MMSS has now opened its doors to Theatre Professionals (TPPL) and have provided their generous cooperation and support towards the founding of The Drama School, Mumbai (DSM).
Together, the MMSS and DSM now create a space for drama training, and with it the promotion of a new generation of theatre practice and culture, relevant to a more cosmopolitan Mumbai.
Over time, with the evolution of DSM at the MMSS, and with regular graduates coming out of this building each year, they hope this new generation of Theatre Makers will create many productions that will premiere at the MMSS, and will generate a new audience of committed theatre goers for this amazing space, making it as significant to Mumbai in the 21st century as it was in the 20th.
The JSW Foundation is an independent institution governed by a Board of Trustees drawn from the senior management of the JSW Group. It is headed by Chairperson Sangita Jindal, with the executive function led by Mr. Mukund Gorakshkar.
An Advisory Board, comprising eminent leaders from non-profit organisations, gives direction to the Foundation and guides it on social processes, participatory planning and execution of the projects.
A team of social development professionals is based in Mumbai and at every location where JSW has its operations. These professionals undertake community-based activities in consultation with the respective plant managements.
The areas of operations for JSW Foundation are as follows:
Art, culture and heritage
JSW Foundation, supported one student of The Drama School, Mumbai, in it’s first year.
Like the other Goethe-Instituts in India, the Goethe-Institut Mumbai is known as Max Mueller Bhavan(MMB), named after the German Indologist Friedrich Max Mueller (1823 – 1900) who became famous for his work in Oxford on the ancient Indian texts and his impact on the study of Indian philology, history and religion.
The Institute organises and hosts a large variety of programmes which present German culture and also provides information on cultural life in Germany.
The language department offers language courses, seminars for German language teachers and German language exams.
The German Resource Centre offers basic information on the cultural, social and political life in Germany, as well as access to the internet for browsing relevant German websites.
In the first year of The Drama School, Mumbai, MMB supported The Curious Climb of Cutter Chee: A Gangster Spectacle, one of the productions of the school which was inspired by Brecht’s The Resistible rise of Arturo Ui.
Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT) came into being in 1919 with a sum capital of Rs 8 million. Established in accordance with the will of Sir Ratan Tata, the Trust is now one of the oldest grant bestowing foundations in India.
The Trust has, for more than a century, been instrumental in development processes, providing grants to institutions in the areas of Rural Livelihoods and Communities, Education, Health, Enhancing Civil Society and Governance and Arts, Crafts and Culture.
The Trust provides grants and partner with organisations that engage in innovative and sustainable initiatives and with the potential to make a visible difference. It also provides grants for endowments, has a separate programme for small grants and gives grants to individuals for education and medical relief.
SRTT is headed by Mr. Arun Pandhi (Chief Development Manager and overall in charge of all Programmes) and B. S. Taraporevala (Secretary and Chief Accountant and overall in charge of all administrative and financial matters)
The grants offered by the Trust can be broadly classified as:
In it’s first year, five of The Drama School, Mumbai’s students were benefited of individual scholarships.
The major objective of the Foundation is to identify exceptionally talented young Indian students and support them financially to develop their special skill and talents to the maximum. It achieves this by awarding scholarships to outstanding young students to continue their post-graduate study/research abroad. Over the last three decades, more than 350 scholars have benefited from these scholarships.
The Foundation also operates a Take-Off-Grant Scheme, under which it grants scholarships and awards to gifted young Indians to carry on their work within the country. In addition, the Foundation has established links with premier institutions, like the IITs and FTII and awards scholarships to students in these institutions. The Foundation also awards scholarships in the area of Fine Arts, Music, Theatre, Film Studies and Sports within India.
The Drama School has been an idea 5 years in the making. Understand more about the organisation behind it, and what people have had to say about our teaching history, with the Advanced Workshop Program and the Intensive Drama Program and how they allowed us to create the Drama School, Mumbai.
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