We need to create entrepreneurs in theatre.

Sakal Times, Pune in conversation with Jehan Manekshaw, co-convener of The Drama School, Mumbai.

To read the article online, click here



The Drama School, Mumbai announces audition schedule for Batch 2014-15

The Drama School, Mumbai will conduct auditions for selection for Batch 2014-15 as per the schedule given below:

First Round of Auditions: 6th to 8th May | 10am to 4pm

Second Round of Auditions: 20th to 22nd May | 10am to 4pm

Venue: Purandare Hall, 5th floor,

Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh

Kele Wadi, Dr. Bhalerao Road,

Girgaon, Charni Road East

Mumbai 400004.

To know more about the details of the audition structure click here




OYCC Information Sessions In Delhi

The Drama School, Mumbai visits Delhi for 2 information sessions about its highly intensive One Year Certificate Course in Acting & Theatre Making  Admissions are open for the Batch 2014-15. Come meet Jehan Manekshaw –

1) 10th April, Thursday at Gati Dance Forum at 5pm.
5, Wind Mill Place,
S-17, Khirkee Extension,
Opposite Select City Walk Mall,
New Delhi – 110017
Call +91 11 4182 5766 for directions.

2) 11th April, Friday at The Attic at 5pm.
Regal Building 36
Sansad Marg,
Connaught Place,
Hanuman Road Area,
New Delhi 110001.
Call +91 11 2374 6050 for directions.

Information Session about our amazing One Year Certificate Course!

Come meet the DSM Team to find out more about our amazing One Year Certificate Course!

On Saturday, the 5th of April at  Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh, Kele Wadi, Girgaum, Mumbai @ 5pm.
For more details click here

Weekend Acting Program with Kalyani Hiwale

Here you will –
• Learn more about yourself, your environment and others around you.
• Identify your fears, and move ahead with confidence.
• Define goals and focus on them.
• Be aware of and face the challenges and threats ahead of you.
• Think outside the box, solve problems creatively, and most importantly, learn to take action.

Weekends of April: 19th/20th, 26th/27th and May: 3rd/4th, 10th/11th
From: 8 am to 12 pm
Venue: Purandare Hall, 5th floor, Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh, Kele Wadi, Girgaum,
Charni Road East, Mumbai
Fee: Rs 8,000
To Apply: Send your current C.V. and a letter sharing your reasons for doing this workshop to
us at: info@thedramaschoolmumbai.in

Information Session about our amazing One Year Certificate Course!

Come meet the DSM Team to find out more about our amazing One Year Certificate Course!

On Tuesday, the 1st of April at Haute Haveli, 104-106 Kotia Nirman, Above Mercedes Showroom, Near Fun Republic, New Link Road, Andheri West, Mumbai 400053 @ 5pm.
For more details click here


Gaurav Karmakar- Talks about his time as part of the first batch of the One Year Certificate Course



To put it simply, that is the first word that comes to my mind when I look back at the past one year, the year of my studies at “The Drama School Mumbai”.

Each and every moment has offered me some new food for thought or something new to learn.

The superb design of the course has helped even me, an IT professional earlier, to make a steady and strong transformation over the duration. The 5 months of intensive practical classroom training, with every week concluding with a students’ performance, were the steps for me to reach to a point where I could deserve to be a part of the team that devised one of the two productions of this batch.

Getting to learn from teachers from all over India and abroad, working in different theatre styles, alongside batch mates from different places and with different backgrounds under one roof, was in it self, quite overwhelming.

Every time I thought the best part of the course was over the school offered me something even better. The classroom trainings followed by a month of devising a play and then the performances along with being part of the production teams, research papers and internships. Each and every bit has given me a lot to learn and cherish.

Chirag Lobo - Talks about his time as part of the first batch of the One Year Certificate Course


Over the past 8 months I have learnt so much from the Drama School Mumbai. I remember how I was so desperate to be a part of this course, when I applied in April. And today I look back at everything I have experienced and I thank the Almighty for this opportunity. My main aim was to gain more depth as an actor and that search with The Drama School, helped me learn so much more about myself.
The faculty is like a buffet. Serving such varieties…For instance,
Prabhat, who helped me realise how strong or how far you can push your body and understand that your mind has more strength than your muscle.
Yuki, through her work with the neutral masks helped me discover how your body can express various emotions. It was during her time that the ensemble of boys created a short performance on the dalits based on Namdeo Dhasals Cruelty. A piece that I will continue to cherish for life. It is through that very piece we formed a brotherhood and galvanised all our skills to potray the harsh realities of the Dalits.
Deepal, a man who will keep pushing you and may sometimes get on your nerves, but you can be certain its his way of getting the best out of you.
Deshik is probably the one I have learnt the most from. An actor himself, he simplifies all your road blocks with such ease. A real gem.
Ben Samuels, this man never gave up on me. It was during the rehearsals for our play Cutter Chee I was hospitalised for dengue. He made sure that I would still be part of his play which is something that I am really thankful for.
To have someone of Geetanjali’s caliber who is so established in Indian Theatre is a major plus point as It helped me learn so much from her through my one on one meetings as well as through her directions and constant guidance.
And last but not the least I would like to thank Jehan Manekshaw without whom this wouldn’t be possible. He has bestowed me with the opportunity to intern with Theatre Professionals and has also given me a lot of exposure with concern to various established institutions.
The TML’s were a major driving force in challenging yourself to create new art. This process not only helps you overcome various insecurities but also prepares you to dawn a stage for your final production with ease.
I am so proud of the fact that I am a part of ‘The Curious Climb Of Cutter Chee’ a completely devised play guided by Ben Samuels. The process of recreating Brecht’s Arthuro Ui in 1970’s gangster Mumbai was truly, an enlightening experience.
Based on all my experiences I hope to give back to The Drama School Mumbai something equivalent to the efforts vested in us. When I think about it today, there are a lot of emotions I feel towards the drama school but the most dominant one is gratitude. For helping me reach heights, I didn’t think were possible and giving me experiences which I don’t think I will ever forget.



Mikhail Sen - Talks about his time as part of the first batch of the One Year Certificate Course

My experience at the Drama School, Mumbai over the last 9 months has been nothing short of amazing. That being said, it was never easy and there were days where one would come back wondering why one was putting oneself through such a tough process. Which me brings me to my first big learning at the Drama School, the ability to find new energy. This is something that I learnt quite early (week 4 or 5) during our work with Prabhat.

When you’re firing on all cylinders and slowly losing steam, you’ve got to push yourself and if you do you’ll find what you need to reach your goal. It’s funny how you can use anything as a metaphor because what I’ve just said I realize rings true about life.  Which brings me to another realization that I had. It’s important to be able to see things from as many different perspectives as possible. Having said your own way of seeing or the one you identify most closely with is also really important. It’s sort of like understanding the self (where one’s coming from) as well as the other.

There has been a great deal of learning at various different points. The Theatre Making Lab process was a fantastic way to get us as students into the routine of constantly creating and performing, week after week for 20 weeks.  New tasks brought new challenges and new solutions had to be found. The learning also came from working with each other as well as watching each other’s work. This leads to new ways of working, new ideas – new ways of seeing.

The course for me in terms of structure and content was also quite brilliant. While it was always emphasized that each actor/ performer/ practitioner has a method of work, by studying or using his or her methods and exercises we were encouraged to find our own way of working. The different techniques and subjects ranging from Stanislavsky to Commedia Delle Arte, Greek Chorus to Kalaripayattu improved one’s understanding and broadened the range of both the actor’s mind and body.

The six weeks of rehearsal, which led to the creation of the Curious Climb of Cutter Chee, was an experience in itself. Having never devised an entire 2 hour-long piece, one was exposed to an entirely new way of working. There was great deal of learning and the importance of improvisation was brought home to me.

The rigour and discipline that the Drama School gave me is something that I believe will stay with me for life. The idea that it’s the approach to work and the work itself, which is most important.

Why I decided to create a Drama School

One of the most difficult days in my life had to be the day I boarded an Air India flight from London back to Delhi. I had just finished a two year course Training as a theatre director and producer, and spent the additional work experience year on my visa doing two things: making theatre in an environment full of actors, technicians, producers, whom I could collaborate effectively and to great result with, using the skills I had learned in college; and, interviewing at a thousand jobs in the Theatre to see if one of them would convert to a job, and a more importantly, a work-permit so I could spend my time in this rich environment of professional theatrical practice.

I was distraught. I had spent the 8 of the last 10 years of my life in the UK and US, studying and working in places where professional practice and a sector existed. I had no idea how my MFA and BA in theatre direction were every going to translate into a career back home in India. Where the notion of “creative industries” was unheard of. It took me some time to come to terms with my new reality, but having got over my unhappiness (and to some extent, my own perceptions about myself), I started to look around, to see what it was exactly that I could do.

After touring to meet a number of companies, and talking to many people, I realized, that there was actually an extremely rich vein of theatre practice across the country, and in terms of content, depth of practice, ability, India had it all. It’s just that it all existed in isolated pockets of practice, at best, you could say Theatre as a sector, existed like a cottage industry, its ‘fairs’ being the three or four major theatre festivals each year, at which the same plays by the same companies were being seen. Its best practices, lay behind the walls of institutions, that, while doing good work, were inaccessible to many, for example, the National School of Drama, which has 25 seats a year, and caters to regional quotas (being the nations premier institution).

In the meantime, in the city itself, there were a multitude of performers and actors, and people who love and want to do theatre. (Drama incidentally comes from the Latin, Dram, drm; it means “to do”).  These people were creating work, either on the stages of Prithvi, the NCPA, or through vernacular companies, all of whom picked up what little they could, through workshops by local actors, or learnt by getting cast in amateur plays, and gleaning what they could from either their directors, or the more seasonedactors around them.

We needed a new platform, upon which to hone skills, pick up the rigor, focus, and commitment, which is required when learning the craft of acting, and could deliver learning in a structured manner in line with the more evolved pedagogical methods of the west.  But, it wasn’t simply about creating this space for formal training in acting and theatre making to fulfill this need.  It was also creating a School, which would call upon these rich practices that existed across the country, and create a platform in which knowledge dissemination, using methods and techniques from Kallari, Koodiyattom, and Manipuri could co-exist with Greek Chorus, Stanislavsky, and Commedia. A place where actors could, through exploration and tutelage in all these forms, not develop a mastery of them (that takes a lifetime), but absorb the fundamental principals, and through experiencing them evolve a new, contemporary understanding of the fundamental tools of the actor, conditioning of the breath and voice, use of the body, and the imagination.

But is it enough to create an actor? I don’t think so; the last thing a school should create is the out-of-work actor. It’s important to create theatre-makers as well. So while you can keep struggling to look for a job, under a director or get cast in a film, you also have the ability to make your own theatre.  That’s where the joy of theatre lies, its to revel in the act of creation, the act of storytelling, its about having something to say about something you believe in, and having a burning need to share it with the world, your audience, (in a manner that entertains, absorbs and involves them).  It’s important, that any one who is studying performance, is also empowered and enabled to be the authors of their own work.

And is it enough to create the actor-creator? Especially if they are going to have this formal training, and the sensibilities of a creator? To then be cast into a sector which I characterized at the top of this as being a cottage industry? This is why, any Drama School in India today, needs to also cultivate the entrepreneurial frame of mind. To understand what it takes to produce something, market something, imagine an idea and create a workable plan that will evolve from an idea in their heads of what kind of sector they want to work in, and to confidently embark on this ultimate act of creating something where nothing existed before.  When Tasneem Fatehi and I created Theatre Professionals in 2008, it was with an aim to do exactly this for ourselves, create a space in which we could be professional Theatre Practitioners, and earn a living from Theatre in whatever way imaginable. Its been a great journey where we now have Drama instructors who earn a living teaching Drama in 22 Schools, directors and choreographers who work on annual day productions in schools, facilitators for corporate workshops, and a team of professional faculty from across the country, regularly conducting training for actors (this year, we embark on creation our own productions as well, two of them, through the school). All of our team work in the Theatre, earn a living from the theatre, and consider themselves theatre professionals. There are now 40 of us, and we live, breath, dream Theatre.  There are so many sectors that have formalized, organized and become professional here in the last seven years, the “creative industry” is now a reality, and its now the turn of Theatre to do the same. But just our one organization, will never make this dream of a formal, professional sector a reality; it will take a whole new generation of Actor-Creator-Entrepreneurs to do this. The Drama School, Mumbai is our first, and the best step, we can take towards this.

To finish the story I started with; last week at a wedding here in India, I had the good fortune to meet all of my friends from the UK, who had come down for it; the same ones who said goodbye to a very distraught and unhappy individual at Paddington Station. Time folded in on itself, the last seven years reducing to a moment (as it does at such reunions). The common consensus, starting a career in Theatre in India was the best thing that ever happened to me, and they were right.

– Jehan Manekshaw