As the seat of empires for centuries, and with royalty as patrons, Delhi has long been a cultural center, attracting the best of painters, musicians and dancers. Though today’s patrons have changed, Delhi is more than ever the cultural capital of the country, and is also visited by foreign dancers, musicians and theatre groups en route to the Far East.
There are lots of options if you have got interest in Plays and Monologues. Delhi has a rich and flourishing theatre culture and some of the best actors in the Hindi Film Industry have theatre background. Kamani Auditorium, FICCI Auditorium and National School of Dramas are the major place to catch latest of English or vernacular plays. Kamani Auditorium situated at Mandi house is in a way center for all the cultural activities in Delhi. Most of the time there is free entry but at times you need to have invitation to attend functions.
Besides you have National School of Drama in the vicinity that is a premiere institute for the budding actors. Plays, both Hindi/Urdu and English, are organized regularly and tickets are very nominal, 1$ or less in most of the cases. You have other places too such as FICCI auditorium and Siri Fort Auditorium which regularly organizes plays and cultural activities.
If it’s dance and music you are interested in, then you can choose which kind you prefer watching and concentrate your energies in that direction.
If it’s the classical dance form you want to view, go to the Kamani Auditorium or Siri Fort of New Delhi. Triveni Kala Sangam has an auditorium too.
Then there’s India International Center on Lodhi Road that offers very good programs. In the cooler months, many dance and music festivals are organized and every corner of New Delhi is alive with various interpretations of movement and sound.
However, if it’s optimistic gyration that you prefer, then put on your dancing shoes and be prepared to rock the night at one of New Delhi’s many exclusive dance clubs. These clubs are located within New Delhi’s five-star hotels such as Maurya Sheraton (Ghunghroos), Le Meridien (C.J.’s), The Hilton (Annabelle’s), Hyatt Regency (Oasis), Taj Palace (My Kind of Place), and Park Hotel (Someplace Else).
Houseguests and members can enter scot-free and the rest of Delhi (couples only) has to pay for some fun. Each place is distinct from the other in its décor, music, lights, and crowd.
For those Delhiites who are willing to go beyond their limits for fun, The 32nd Milestone (32 km from Delhi on the highway to Jaipur) has the answer-Fireball. The place has a futuristic look with the décor resembling the interiors of a spaceship. The dance floor is so large that you can actually move your legs along with your body unlike in the compact discos of Delhi.
Music connoisseurs have a variety of sounds to choose from in New Delhi. The auditoria where these concerts are held are the same as the dance programs.
Whether Indian classical, Hindustani or Carnatic, or the lighter ghazals, there is no dearth of Syamala Venkateswaran performing at the CrŠme of 20th Century Composers
Music Festival in New Delhi. Choice in New Delhi. When a particularly well-known singer comes to New Delhi, it is usually well covered by the press. The papers also reserve a column in their daily editions to display a list of programs for the day. These programs include not only the visual arts but also lectures on a wide variety of topics by scholars or luminaries in that particular field. To see the craftsmen of the city and the country make their wares, you must go to the crafts museum in Pragati Maidan and Dilli Haat. They try to display this form of indigenous talent and let the craftsmen benefit from their skill at the same time.
What’s more, all these places have a café or canteen in the vicinity. So, if you feel like mind-satisfied-is-not-stomach satisfied it can be set right. Overall, New Delhi offers a profusion of cultural activities from light entertainment to scholarly programs.
Mandi House is an area very near to India Gate. Mandi House Circle is very famous because of many cultural places surrounding it. Literature, art, dance and drama sit enthroned in imposing buildings cheek-by-jowl around the Mandi House circle with hundreds of acolytes in attendance.
THE TRIVENI KALA SANGAM
The Triveni Kala Sangam with its galleries and art studios of major artists, is a favourite haunt of painters and art critics journalists and intellectuals
Sahitya Academy, Lalith Kala Academy and Sangeet Natak Academy occupy the three floors of Rabindra Bhavan, a space once they shared with the National School Of Drama. These Institutions were set up by the government soon after Independence to promote award encourage research and preserve India’s varied literature, art, dance, music and theatre.
THE SAHITYA ACADEMY
has weekly ‘Meet the Author’ evenings and a wonderful library housing books in all Indian languages.
SANGEET NATAK ACADEMY
is the premiere cultural institution in India. Inaugurated in January 1953, The Sangeet Natak Academy was the brainchild of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India.
It was country’s first National Academy for music, dance and drama. This institution works to preserve and propagate the diverse cultural heritage of India in form of dances, songs and plays. Sangeet Natak Academy is an autonomous body that works in the purview of Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India. The Akademi coordinates and collaborates with different government art institutions and art academies of every state and territory as well as with major cultural institutions of the country.
You can catch any of numerous programs and cultural activities organized by the academy. It includes among others, National and Regional Festivals, Yuva Utsav as well as regular seminars and workshops on music, dance and theatre. It also organizes regular performances by the veterans of their respective fields round the year. Besides, it is also proving to be a good platform for the amateurs to showcase their talent.
The Natak academy has also established teaching institutions like National School of Drama and Kathak Kendra in Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru Dance Academy in Imphal. Sangeet Natak Academy also confers awards to the appreciative works by artists in the field of music, dance and dramas. As of now this is considered the highest recognition in the respective fields in India.
LALITH KALA ACADEMY
is the hub of art activity and its three floor galleries are always in demand for large exhibitions. It also has a souvenir shop selling Indian art prints. Lalit Kala Academy entails various activities related to the different visual arts forms like Paintings, Sculptures, Graphics, Photography, and Ceramics.
Regular exhibitions related to these art forms are organized every week. It is funded by Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government India .
Timings: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Address: Lalit Kala Academy, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House
Besides a museum of old masks, musical instruments, theatre costumes and puppets, the Sangeet Natak Academy has a large archival collection of photos, audio and video recordings of the many festivals of contemporary and traditional dance, music and drama and field study compilations done by SNA.
NATIONAL SCHOOL OF DRAMA
was setup in 1959 by Sangeet Natak Academy. In 1975, it became an independent entity and was registered as an autonomous organization under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, fully financed by Ministry of Culture, Government of India
Besides the training programme, which is of 3 years duration, the School has explored new vistas in the areas of Children’s Theatre and decentralization of theatre training through workshops under the Extension Programme. In 1999, the School organized its first National Theatre Festival, which was christened Bharat Rang Mahotsav and is generally held during the second week of January each year.
The training in the School is highly intensive and is based on a through, comprehensive, carefully planned syllabus which covers every aspect of theatre in which theory is related to practice. As a part of their training, students are required to produce plays, which are then performed before the public.
Address: National School of Drama, Bahawalpur House, 1 Bhagwandas Road, New Delhi-110001
Phone: +9111 – 23382821
SHRI RAM CENTRE
was founded in 1975 by Mrs. Panna Bharat Ram. Since 1976, the Centre has been operating from the Indian National Theatre Trust premises in the heart of Delhi’s theatre district in the Mandi House area.
Address: Shri Ram Centre, 4, Safdar Hashmi Marg, Mandi House, New Delhi-110001
attached to Sumitra Charat Ram’s institute of dance and music, the Sriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, is arguably is the best auditorium in Delhi Situated next to the Academis, it is an ideal space for dance and theatre.
It was inaugurated on the 22nd of August 1971 by President of India Shri. V.V. Giri. Spread over a vast area in the heart of the capital’s cultural arena and with seating capacity of 632 people, the auditorium is on an impressive structure.
A prominent part of the complex is the SHRIRAM BHARATIYA KALA KENDRA, one of the premier cultural institutions of INDIA. The outstanding feature of the auditorium is the stage. With a 48 feet depth and a 40 feet opening frontage, it is large by any standards and ideal for all kinds of presentations, ranging from plays, ballets, to group and solo performances.
Address: Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House, New Delhi-110001
THE INDIRA GANDHI NATIONAL CENTRE FOR THE ARTS (IGNCA)
was established in 1987 as an autonomous institution under the Department of Culture, and envisioned as a centre for research, academic pursuit and dissemination in the field of the arts. ‘The Arts’ as a wide spectrum, encompassing subjects from archaeology to dance and anthropology to the photographic art, envelop them in a complementary and non-demarcated vision. In its functioning, the IGNCA has met its mandate and continues to work in this direction.
The IGNCA has six functional units – Kalanidhi, the multi-form library; Kalakosa, devoted mainly to the study and publication of fundamental texts, predominantly in Sanskrit; Janapada Sampada, the division engaged in lifestyle studies; Kaladarsana, the executive unit which transforms researches and studies emanating from the IGNCA into visible forms through
The fourth division of the institution is Kaladarsana. It compliments Janapada Sampada and provides the venue and forum for facilitating a creative dialouge amongst cultures, disciplines, levels of society and diverse arts. Through its programmes it has established a unique style of projection and presentation of the arts.
THE LITTLE THEATRE GROUP HALL,
also on Copernicus Marg, is a smaller more cameral space.. Not very far away from the Mandi House roundabout is the SAPRU HOUSE HALL, which once held alternate children film festivals.
PRITHVI THEATRE FESTIVAL
is the premiere and leading theatre festival in India. Once in a year, the intellectual class of Delhi gets a treat in the form of this prestigious festival.
The festival is organized by the ‘Prithvi Theatres’ that was started by Prithvi Raj Kapoor, the pioneer of Hindi theatre and cinema movement in India. This festival was started in the year 1978 and since then it has never looked back. The Prithvi theatre festival presents a platter of plays, one act plays, monologues and performances to choose from. These plays are directed by some of the finest directors of the country that include both professionals and amateurs. Basically this is a Hindi/Urdu theatre festival but selective good works in English are also staged. Sanjana Kapoor, the granddaughter of Late Prithvi Raj Kapoor, runs the festival and organization.
The acts and plays are carefully chosen to suit the taste and mood of the audience. These plays are based on range of topics, from current burning issues to classic literature. The actors are very professional and are the backbone of the thriving film industry. Though lately, filmmakers are accused of poaching these artists by promising moon. The Prithvi Festival is struggling hard to revive the, defunct and almost dead, theatre movement in this country. The plain motive behind this festival is to take plays and acts among the common men and provide it with much needed oxygen.
Theatre Scene in Delhi is getting better day-by-day. There are many theatre festivals, which are organized every year like Bharat Rang Mahotsav by NSD, Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards, Prithvi Theatre Festival, Puppet Theatre Festival & more.
Plays are organized by students of National School of Drama (one of the foremost theatre institute in Delhi) on a regular basis. Shri Ram Centre, The Little Theatre Group, Akshara Theatre are other such places with lots of theatre activities.
Theatre groups, which are active in Delhi, includes Asmita Theatre Group, Pierrot’s Troupe, Natsamrat, TheatrePlayers, Mask Theatre Group, Atelier Theatre Society & many more. Urdu Academy, Punjabi Academy, Hindi Academy & other such academies also organize plays.
Many more plays by Individual directors & foreign productions also happen in Delhi. English, Hindi, Urdu plays are prominent. There are plays in other languages too like Punjabi, Sindhi & other such regional languages of India.
Here are some important Auditoria/ Venues in New Delhi
AIFACS AUDITORIUM: 1-Rafi Marg, Connaught Place, Tel: 23711315
AGA KHAN HALL: Sarojini House, SF-6 Bhagwan Das Road. Tel: 23782157
AKSHARA THEATRE: 11-B, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Tel: 23743850
ALLIANCE FRANÇOISE: 72- Lodi Estate, Tel: 41012091—94, Fax: 41011990, Membership to Cine Club –Free
AMBEDKAR AUDITORIUM: 1- Ashoka Road, Tel: 23389182
AMERICAN CENTRE: 24- Kastrba Gandhi Marg, Tel: 23316841
BRITISH COUNCIL: 17- Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Tel: 23711401
THE ATTIC: 36- Regal Building, Tel: 41503436
EMBASSY OF BRAZIL: 8-Aurangzeb Road, Tel: 23017286
FICCI AUDITORIUM: Federation House, Tansen Marg, Tel; 23738760—70
FRENCH CULTURAL CENTRE: 2- Aurangzeb Road, Tel: 23014682
Ghalib Auditorium: Lal Bhavan, Mata Sundari Lane, Tel: 23232583
HUNGARIAN CULTURAL CENTRE: 1-A- Janpath, Tel: 23014497
INDIA INTERNATIONAL CENTRE (IIC): 40-Max Mueller Marg, Tel: 24619431, Frequency: 4—6 movies a month. Film Club only for members. Documentary evenings open to public.
ISRAEL CULTURAL DEPARTMENT: 3- Aurangzeb Road, Tel: 30414500.
ITALIAN CULTURAL CENTRE: 50-E Chanakyapuri, Tel: 26871901
JAPAN CULTURAL CENTRE: 32-Ferozshah Road; Tel: 24122972
LALIT KALA AKADEMY: Rabindra Bhavan 35-Ferozshah Road; Tel: 23387241—43; Web: lalitkala.gov.in
LITTLE THEATRE GROUP (LTG) HALL: LTG Auditorium; Copernicus Marg; Tel: 23389713.
LOK KALA MUNCH: 20- lodhi Institutional Area, Lodhi Road. Tel: 24644421
MAVALANKAR AUDITORIUM: Rafi Marg, Tel: 23719780
MAX MUELLER: 3- Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Tel: 23329506; Website: Goethe.de/in/ned/enindex
MEGHDOOT: Rabindra Bhavan; 35- Ferozeshah road; Tel: 23387246-48
NATIONAL SCHOOL OF DRAMA: Bahawalpur house; 1—Bhagwan Dass Road; Tel: 23383420
PYARELAL BHAVAN: Gandhi Memorial Hall; 2- Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg; Tel: 41509110
RABINDRA BHAVAN: 35- Ferozeshah Road; 23386626
RAMANA KENDRA: 8- Institutional Area, Lodhi Road; Tel: 24626997
RUSSIAN CULTURAL CENTRE: Russian Centre of Science and Culture, 24- Ferozeshah Road; Tel: 23329100—01, Web: rcsa.org.in Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Movies on Saturday at 6pm. Language: English (dubbed/ subtitled)
SAHITYA AKADEMY: Rabindra Bhavan 35- Ferozeshah Road, Tel: 23386626,23387386
SAPRU HOUSE: Indian Council of World Affairs, Sapru House, Barakhamba Road; Tel: 23317249
SANGEET NATAK AKADEMY: Rabindra bhavan, 35-Ferozeshah Road, Tel; 23387246—48
SHRI RAM BHARATIYA KALA KENDRA: 1- Copernicus Marg, Mandi House; Tel: 23386428—29
SHRI RAM CENTRE FOR PERFORMING ARTS: 4- Safdar Hashini Marg; Tel; 23714307.
TAGORE HALL: ICCR Azad Bhavan, Indraprastha Estate, Ito; Tel; 23379309
TEEN MURTI AUDITORIUM: Teen Murti Bhavan; Tel: 23015026.
TRADE FAIR AUTHORITY OF INDIA: Pragati Maidan; Tel: 23378802.
TRIVENI KALA SANGAM: N- 205,Tansen Marg; Tel: 23718833.
VIGYAN BHAVAN: Maulana Azad Road; Tel: 23022231.
SARAI MEDIA CENTRE: 19- Rajpur Road; Tel: 23942199.
AIR FORCE AUDITORIUM: Subroto Park, Tel; 25692386.
KRITI FILM CLUB: S- 35, Tara Appartments, Alaknanda; Tel: 26477865, 26213088. Email: email@example.com, Films on third Saturdays- followed by open discussion.
PORTUGAL CULTURAL CENTRE: 8- Olof Palme Marg, Vasant Vihar; Tel: 26141141.
SIRI FORT: Khel Gaon Marg: 26493370
POORVA SANSKRITI KENDRA: 14, District Centre, Laxmi Nagar; Tel: 42446060.
NATIONAL SCHOOL OF DRAMA REPERTORY COMPANY: National School Of Drama, Bahawalpur House, 1- Bhagwan Dass Road; Tel: 23382821, Web: nsd.gov.in
SAHITYA KALA PARISHAT: 18-A, Special Institutional Area, Satsang Vihar Marg; Tel: 26867636—37.
SHRI RAM CENTRE REPERTORY: Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts: 4- Safdar Hashini Marg; Tel: 23714307.