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National School of Drama

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

The National School of Drama is one of the foremost theatre training institutions in the world and the only one of its kind in India. It was set up by the Sangeet Natak Akademi as one of its constituent units in 1959. National School of Drama (or NSD) is a theatre training institute situated at New Delhi, India. It is an autonomous organization under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. It was set up in 1959 by the Sangeet Natak Akademi and became an independent school in 1975. In 2005, it was granted deemed university status, but in 2011 it was revoked. Paresh Rawal is the current Chairperson of National School of Drama (NSD).

National School of Drama
Bahawalpur House, New Delhi, India
ChairmanParesh Rawal (2020 - present)
DirectorSuresh Sharma (September 2018 - present)
National School of Drama Mandi House


The origins of the school can be traced back to a seminar in 1954, where the idea of a Central institution for theatre was mooted, subsequently, a draft scheme was prepared in 1955, and the Sangeet Natak Akademi, which had Jawaharlal Nehru as its president, started drawing plans for the institution. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Delhi, Bharatiya Natya Sangh (BNS) with assistance from UNESCO, independently established the 'Asian Theatre Institute' (ATI) on 20 January 1958, and in July 1958, ATI was taken over by the Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA), India's National Academy of Music, dance and drama of Government of India.

In the following year, the government merged it with the newly founded school, and thus NSD was established in April 1959 under the auspices of Sangeet Natak Akademi. Initially, the school was situated at Nizamuddin West and was called 'National School of Drama and Asian Theatre Institute, whose first batch passed out in 1961. During his tenure as the director of the institution, Ebrahim Alkazi (1962–1977), not just overhauled the syllabus, but also had the students dig and build platforms for a theatre in the backyard of a rented Kailash Colony house, where NSD had moved. Later when it moved to its present location, he also designed two theatres for NSD, including a 200-seat studio theatre, and the open-air Meghdoot theatre, under a banyan tree.

In 1975 it became an autonomous organization, under the erstwhile Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture, Department of Culture, with the name 'National School of Drama' and relocated in May 1975, to its present premises at Bahawalpur House, the residence of Bahawalpur a former princely state. However, the place is generally known by adjacent (now demolished) Mandi House, the former residence of Raja of erstwhile Mandi princely state. In 1999, the School organized its first National Theatre Festival, 'Bharat Rang Mahotsav', generally held during the second week of January each year.

In 2008, the institution celebrated its golden jubilee at its annual theatre festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav, with a gathering of its alumni from all over the country, the festival's satellite edition in Mumbai showcased plays of NSD graduates, including Ratan Thiyam's Prologue, Bansi Kaul (Aranyadhipati Tantiya), Neelam Mansingh Chowdhury (The Suit), Sanjay Upadhyay (Harsingar), Baharul Islam (Akash), Mohan Maharishi (Dear Bapu) and M K Raina (Stay Yet Awhile). Waman Kendre was appointed as Director the school in 2013. He will serve a five-year term. He has done post-graduate with research in folk theatre of Kerala from NSD. He belongs to the nomadic Vanjara tribal community of Marathwada and was one of the leading lights of the Dalit theatre movement in Maharashtra in the late 1970s. As of 10 September 2020 Paresh Rawal, has been appointed as the Chairman of the National School of Drama.

Deemed university status[edit]

On 16 March 2005, the Government of India granted the NSD the status of deemed university. However, in 2010 the NSD Society asked for the deemed university status to be revoked since "[it] could undermine the professional training, autonomy, and flexibility required in the creative fields such as theatre." Thus, in October 2011, the status was revoked on request of NSD.

Performing Wings[edit]

Repertory Company[edit]

The professional performing wing of NSD, the 'National School of Drama' Repertory Company was set up in 1964, with an aim to promote professional theatre in India. Its first head was Om Shivpuri, followed by Manohar Singh, Ram Gopal Bajaj (Acting Chief), J.N. Kaushal (Acting Chief), Anuradha Kapur (Acting Chief), and Suresh Sharma, Sagar Kamble, Atul Singhai (Animation chief).

Today, the Repertory Company has staged over 120 plays based on the works of about 70 playwrights and featuring around 50 directors in several countries, and various cities across the nation, and has its own festival every year called 'Annual Repertory Company Summer Festival', in which it performs new and past plays. In 2004, the repertory celebrated its 40th anniversary with a theatre festival in New Delhi.

Sanskaar Rang Toli[edit]

In 1989 NSD established the 'Theatre-in-Education Company' (T.I.E), called 'Sanskaar Rang Toli', which coaches children aged 8 to 16 years. The company regularly performs plays for school and adults audiences alike, and has its own yearly theatre festivals, 'Jashn-e-Bachpan' and Bal Sangam.

Performing spaces[edit]

The school has three auditoria within the campus:

• Abhimanch Auditorium

• Sammukh Auditorium

• Bahumukh Auditorium

Apart from that, it has a studio theatre and minor performances spaces used on special occasions, like the Bharat Rangmahotsav.

Regional centres[edit]

In a bid to decentralize its activities, NSD opened Regional Resource Centres (RRC) across India, the first of which was opened at Bengaluru in 1994. A new centre was established in Varanasi.

Notable alumni[edit]

• Ashutosh Rana

• Adil Hussain

• Ashish Vidyarthi

• Ashok Lokhande

• Amal Allana

• Abhishek Sharma

• Alok Nath

• Amruta Subhash

• Anupam Kher

• Anuradha Kapur

• Annu Kapoor

• Ashraful Haque (actor)

• Atul Kulkarni

• Baharul Islam (actor)

• Balraj Pandit

• B. Jayashree

• Bijay Mohanty

• B.M. Shah

• B.V. Karanth

• Bansi Kaul

• Bhanu Bharti

• Bharti Sharma

• Chinmay Mandlekar

• Dolly Ahluwalia

• Dinesh Khanna (director)

• Govind Namdev

• Himani Shivpuri

• Irrfan Khan

• Indira Tiwari

• Jaya Seal

• Kumud Mishra

• M.K. Raina

• Manohar Singh

• Mohan Maharishi

• Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub

• Mukesh Tiwari

• Nadira Babbar

• Naseeruddin Shah

• Nawazuddin Siddiqui

• Neena Gupta

• Om Puri

• Om Shivpuri

• Pankaj Kapur

• Pankaj Tripathi

• Piyush Mishra

• Prasanna

• Raj Babbar

• Rajesh Sharma

• Rajpal Yadav

• Raghubir Yadav

• Ram Gopal Bajaj

• Ratan Thiyam

• Ratna Pathak Shah

• Rita Ganguly

• Rohini Hattangadi

• Rohitash Gaud

• Rupal Patel

• R T Rama

• Sai Paranjpye

• Santanu Bose

• Sanjay Mishra

• Satish Kaushik

• Seema Biswas

• Shah Rukh Khan

• Shanta Gandhi

• Sharad Ponkshe

• Shyam Pathak

• Subrat Dutta

• Sunil Pokhrel

• Surekha Sikri

• Suresh Bhardwaj

• Swanand Kirkire

• Tannishtha Chatterjee

• Tigmanshu Dhulia

• Tushar Pandey

• Uttara Baokar

• Virendra Saxena

• V K Sharma

• Yashpal Sharma

Zeshan Ali Khan

Directors of NSD[edit]

Chairpersons of NSD[edit]

• Dr. K.V Rajamannar – 1959-61

• Maharaja Shri Chamaraja Wadiyar Bahadur – 1961-65

• Indira Gandhi – 1965-72

• K.P.S. Menon – 1976-Feb.1978

• Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay – March–Nov.1978

• L. M. Singhvi – Nov. 1978–82

• Shanta Gandhi – 1982–84

• Suresh Awasthi – 1984–86

• Vijaya F. Mehta – 1988–92

• P.C. Joshi – 1992–96

• Chandrashekhara Kambara – 1996-Nov.2000

• Anupam Kher – 2001-04

• Amal Allana – May 2005-13

• Ratan Thiyam – 2013-17

• Paresh Rawal – Sept.2020-present

External links[edit]

NSD (National School of Drama) website