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Arts Management

Arts Management Meet

First brainstorming meeting of theatrewallahs and Milena Dragicevic-Sesic, Head of UNESCO Chair in Interculturalism, Art Management and Mediation.
14, 15, 16 January 2010
at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai

The India Theatre Forum invited Milena Dragicevic-Sesic to be our mentor to help us design an Arts Management programme in India.

Armed with her experience of setting up arts management training programmes in the Baltic and Asian countries, Milena was sent to get a first-hand sense of theatre and institutional functioning in India. In her whirlwind trip through the country, she visited various theatre companies across the length and breadth - including Jana Natya Manch, NSD, Adishakti, Kattaikuttu Sangam, Ninasam, Rangashankara, Samudaya.

At the end of a hectic fortnight, we organised a meet in Bombay, with the aim to understand the need for an Arts Management programme, and the process of designing and executing it within an India-specific context.

The intense discussions, brainstorming and interrogations that followed are recorded in the 'Talks' section. Please do go have a listen!

Cultural Management – Business Management or the “Third Road”?
  •    The Potential of Cultural Management by Milena
Brainstorming session: Obstacles and potentials
  •    Obstacles and potentials
Workshop: Developmental Paths
  •    Developmental Paths
  •    The Discipline of Arts Management
Performing Arts Mangement: Professional development needs
  •    Performing Arts Mangement: Professional development needs
Workshop in groups: Envisioning Seminars
  •    Workshop in groups: Envisioning Seminars
Presentations and General Discussion
  •    Presentations and General Discussion
General Discussion: Models of Theatre in India - Diversities and Relations
  •    Models of Theatre in India - Diversities and Relations
Teaching Performing Arts Management: Curriculum Development
  •    Articulating the role and needs of Arts Management
Ways Forward: Tasks for the India Theatre Forum
  •    Task list for the ITF

A book on Arts Management authored by Milena Dragicevic-Sesic, who mentored us through this process of attempting to understand the concept of Arts Management within the context of Indian theatre and other performing arts.

A handbook on Arts and Cultural Management by Milena Dragicevic-Sesic and Branimir Stojkovic.

Akshara KV | Writer/Director/Administration – Ninasam, Heggodu

Akshara KV works at Ninasam, theatre and cultural group at Heggodu, Karnataka. He has undergone training in theatre at the NSD and the Workshop Theatre, University of Leeds, UK. Has directed several productions in Kannada and has written 3 plays apart from several adaptations and books on theatre and culture. He also heads, Akshara Prakashana, a publication in Karnataka.

Anurupa Roy Puppeteer/Managing Trustee – Katkatha

Anurupa Roy is a free-lance puppeteer based in New Delhi. She is the founder/Managing Trustee of the Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust. She works as a director for puppet performances, a puppet builder and manipulator and also a workshop conductor for puppet theatre.

Arundhati Nag Actor/Administration – Ranga Shankara

Arundhati Nag is an actress with a career of 35 years on stage and screen. She is the Creative Director of Ranga Shankara, Bangalore.

Ashok Tiwari Actor – Jana Natya Manch

Ashok Tiwari is an actor with Jana Natya Manch in Delhi and has been associating with it for the past 17 years

Hanne M de Bruin Creative Director – Kattaikuttu Sangam

Hanne M de Bruin: The foundation of the Tamil Nadu Kattaikkuttu Kalai Valarchi Munnetra Sangam (the Sangam for short), a union to promote the economic and artistic interests of the players, originated through the work of P. Rajagopal and Hanne M. de Bruin. Hanne M. de Bruin is a Dutch Indologist, who has published a number of essays and books on Kattaikkuttu and other Tamil theatre genres. She supports the work of the Sangam actively through fund raising, facilitating the Sangam's activities, making of theatre costumes and co-producing new plays.

Jehan Manekshaw Director/Producer/Designer – Theatre Professionals, Mumbai

Jehan Manekshaw has been working and training in Theatre in multiple capacities for well over 10 years. He has received professional Training in every aspect of creating a Theatrical work in this time, be it acting, directing, design, scripting, or producing. He completed his BA with High Honors from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, USA. After a year of working in Theatre in New York, Jehan returned to India to work in Theatre, Television and Film and worked under Zarina Mehta at UTV, Quasar Thakore Padamsee, and Nagesh Kukunoor. He then returned to the UK to complete his further education. He received a Masters in Media and ommunications at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He then completed his Masters of Fine Arts from Birkbeck, University of London in Theatre Directing and Theatre Producing, the only course of its kind in the world. After which he started to produce Theatre Productions in London that recieved 4 and 5 star reviews in some of London's most influential theatre review papers and magazines.

Joyoti Roy | Actor – Jana Natya Manch / ANANT

Joyoti Roy started her tryst with theatre through the children’s workshops conducted by Sahitya Kala Parishad. Since 1999 she has been working as an actor and administrator with ANANT (An association for Nascent Art and Natural Thetare), a Delhi based group. Later, 2001 onwards she started to act in plays of Jana Natya Manch also. She has conducted many workshops for children and workshops on voice training. By profession she is an art conservator with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage. Recently she worked on the design and care management of Jana Natya Manch’s archival, audio visual and play materials.

Komita Dhanda Actor/Film maker – Jana Natya Manch

Komita has been working with Jana Natya Manch since 2004 as actor, director and writer. She is a trained film maker from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia. Currently, she teaches Development Journalism and Media Production at Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi.

Milena Dragićević Šešić | Head of UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy & Management, Belgrade

Milena Dragićević Šešić is the Head of the UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy and Management and a professor of Cultural Policy, Cultural Management, Cultural and Media studies at the University of Arts in Belgrade. She was advisor to the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Serbia (2006-7) and has worked as an expert for several international institutions, including UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the European Cultural Foundation, the Open Society Institute, ENCATC, the Marcel Hicter Foundation, Pro Helvetia and the British Council. Professor Dragićević Šešić is the author of 15 books and more than 100 essays on a wide range of subjects, including arts management, cultural policy and intercultural relations and has been involved in more than 50 projects in cultural policy and management in South East Europe but also in EU member States and other countries in Europe, the Mediterranean, Caucasus and Central Asia and India.

Moloyashree Hashmi | Actor/Administration/Teacher – Jana Natya Manch

Moloyashree Hashmi a school teacher by profession, (born 1953) is possibly India's best-known street theatre activist. For more than the last thirty years, she has been engaged in theatre, and since 1989 has been Secretary, Jana Natya Manch, India's premier street theatre group. She has been involved in the creation of more than 70 street plays and has more than 5,000 performances to her credit. She has worked with directors like Habib Tanvir, Anuradha Kapur, M.K. Raina, N.K. Sharma, and others, and playwrights such as Govind Deshpande. . She has been on the editorial board of Nukkad Janam Samvaad since its inception. She has worked in the field of elementary education for the last thirty years as primary school teacher and as a consultant. She has also used theatre as a pedagogic tool in the classroom. She has written several textbooks for English Education) and Environmental Studies, and evolved new educational material in other subjects as well. She has regularly conducted workshops for innovative techniques for several subjects at the elementary level for teachers in government and private schools. At present, she conducts the Theatre Practicum for students of the Bachelor of Elementary Education in five colleges of Delhi University.

P Rajagopal Director/Actor – Kattaikuttu Sangam

The foundation of the Tamil Nadu Kattaikkuttu Kalai Valarchi Munnetra Sangam (the Sangam for short), a union to promote the economic and artistic interests of the players, originated through the work of P. Rajagopal and Hanne M. de Bruin. P.Rajagopal is an actor, director and playwright. He comes from a family of Kattaikkuttu actors and musicians.

Padmini Chettur Dancer/Choreographer – Padmini Chettur Dance Company

Padmini Chettur began her dance training with Bharatanatyam. Between 1991 & 2001 she worked with choreographer Chandralekha performing in productions like Lilavati, Pran, Angika, Sri, Bhinna Pravaha etc. Her own artistic research began in 1994. She departs from the Classical repertoire of gestures, posturing & mythical tales to shape an alternative, no less strict but very condensed. At the core of Chettur’s work is resistance. It unveils a taut vision that takes the contemporary dance of India from what it is and how it should look, to radical dimensions.

Pawan Waghmare Puppeteer/ Manager – Ishara Puppet Theatre Company / Katkatha

Pawan Waghmare is a puppeteer who works with the Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust and The Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust in New Delhi. He is also a project manager for the UNESCO HIV/AIDS project of the Ishara Puppet Arts Trust. He is the Production Manager for all Katkatha performances. Pawan has toured many festivals with the shows of these two puppet companies. He is also currently assisting Ms Ranjana Pandey at the MCRC Jamia as a teacher for the Traditional Media segment of the Mass Communication course.

Rajendra Nathan Proramme Officer – HIVOS

Rajendran Nathan works in Hivos as a Programme Officer with sectoral responsibilities for the Human Rights and Democratisation and the Arts & Culture programme portfolios for India. Hivos is a Dutch development organization with its Head Office in The Hague. The India Regional Office is based in Bangalore. At a personal level he has been active in the Trade Union and cultural organizations.

Ruchira Das Administration/Organisation/Publicity – Ranan

Ruchira Das is currently a core group member of RANAN helping out with publicity and arts administration. As part of her association with SPIC MACAY, she was involved with various organisational elements of performance arts. In the last 1 ½ year's association with Ranan she has been looking after publicity and outreach for the group. She is also presently the coordinator of Rabindra Utsav - an annual festival in Kolkata featuring performances in theatre, dance and music.

Sameera Iyengar | Co-Founder, Junoon, Mumbai

Sameera Iyengar is co-founder of Junoon, an organisation that aims to make theatre/arts an integral and powerful part of our everyday lives. In Junoon, she plays a key role in conceptualising and developing Junoon's programmes and capacity building efforts, as well as building the organisation. She is also currently Course Director of SMART (Strategic Management in the Art of Theatre), a unique course designed specifically for theatre groups in India, and offered under the aegis of the India Theatre Forum (ITF). Sameera was also a founding member of the ITF in 2006, and remained a core member till 2014. As part of her ITF contribution, she co-edited Our Stage:The Pleasures and Perils of Theatre Practice in India Today (Tulika 2009). Previous to Junoon, Sameera was Director Projects at Prithvi Theatre for close to a decade, and has also worked with the Seagull Theatre Quarterly. She has a PhD on theatre from the Department of South Asian Languages & Civilisations at the University of Chicago. She was bitten by the theatre bug however during her undergraduate years at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), from where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BSc in Mathematics and a Minor in Theatre. Sameera believes that theatre and the arts open doors to imagination, understanding and living life with fullness, curiosity, empathy and sheer joy. She delights in sharing this experience and possibility with all people.

Sanjna Kapoor | Co-Founder, Junoon, Mumbai

Sanjna Kapoor is co-founder of Junoon, a social enterprise that aims to create platforms for theatre in India. Sanjna is well known for her passionate work with theatre over twenty-five years, and for having built Prithvi Theatre into one of India’s premier cultural hubs. She has also played a key role as catalyst for theatre for children. She currently spearheads Junoon’s school programme. Sanjna has also been responsible for initiating the India Theatre Forum network for theatre practitioners. Her current focus is working towards an all-India theatre alliance, based on a practical sharing of resources and ideas, as well as consolidating and strengthening theatre practice in India.

Saurabh Nayyar Actor/Administration – Aranya Theatre/Prithvi Theatre/India Theatre Forum

Saurabh Nayyar is an actor with Aranya theatre group, Mumbai and also acts in advertisements. He is part of the administrative team of India Theatre Forum.

Shaili Sathyu Direction, Production Design, Theatre for Children

Shaili Sathyu works in education and the arts, with a specific focus on children. She is formally trained as an educator and her theatre training has been through working on plays and theatre projects. She is the Artistic Director of Gillo, a group working in Theatre for Young Audiences. Her plays for children include Suar Chala Space Ko, Barsoraam Dhadaake Se and Kyun-Kyun Ladki. Shaili also works as consultant with schools, focusing on curriculum development and innovative teaching-learning processes. She has conducted several workshops for children and teachers, with themes ranging from the literary and visual to the performing arts.

Sharvari Sastry | Theatre Administration - ITF, Mumbai

Sharvari Sastry is the Project coordinator of the India Theatre Forum website, an initiative of the ITF. She was formerly the Executive Editor of PTNOTES, Prithvi Theatre's monthly newsletter, and was involved with Theatre Professionals, a theatre company dedicated to professionalizing and improving the standards of practice for Theatre in India. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Chicago, where her research focuses on the intersection of print and performance within the field of Indian theatre.

Sudhanva Deshpande | Actor/Director/Writer/Publisher – Jana Natya Manch / Leftword Books, Delhi

Sudhanva Deshpande is an actor and director with Jana Natya Manch (Janam), a radical political theatre collective based in New Delhi. He has been involved in the creation of dozens of street, proscenium and other performances, and has lectured and led workshops in institutions across India, as well as in Palestine, South Africa, Germany, Poland, the US and UK. He has held teaching positions at the National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad) and the AJK Mass Communication Research Centre (Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi). He writes on theatre and politics, and has edited Theatre of the Streets: The Jana Natya Manch Experience (Janam 2007) and co-edited Our Stage: The Pleasures and Perils of Theatre Practice in India Today (Tulika 2009). He has co-directed two documentary films on Naya Theatre and Habib Tanvir (available from Magic Lantern Films). He is a member of the Core Team of the India Theatre Forum. Since 1999, he has headed LeftWord Books, an independent publishing house, as Managing Editor, as well as May Day Bookstore and Cafe since 2012. He was an Arthink South Asia (ATSA) Fellow for 2011-12, and has been involved in the conceptualisation, creation, administration and programming of Studio Safdar, Shadi Khampur.

T Surendra Rao Actor/Organizer – Samudaya, Bangalore

T Surendra Rao is a proud participant of the month-long Statewide Cultural Jatha in Oct-Nov 1979 organised by Samudaya as an actor in street plays. In later years, shouldered responsibility of Bengaluru unit of Samudaya for some time and also took part in proscenium plays mostly as an actor. Now in 2006, elected as General Secretary of Karnataka Rajya Samudaya Samanvaya Samiti, a co-ordinating body of different units of Samudaya spread throughout the State of Karnataka. Samudaya conducted statewide cultural Jatha for two weeks on'hunger free Karnataka' in December 2009-January 2010 and again another Jatha in May 2011 against Corruption and Price Rise. Both the Jathas which were led by him and Prof R K Hudgi.were well received by people through out.

Toral Shah Executive Producer/ Designer – Q Theatre Productions, Mumbai

Toral Shah is a full time member of Q Theatre Productions since 2001. She works as an executive producer, production manager, designer and administrator for the organization. She is one of the core members of Thespo - an all India youth theatre movement.

Vikram Iyengar | Dancer, Choreographer, Director – Ranan, Kolkata

Vikram Iyengar, Artistic Director, Ranan was initiated into Kathak by Smt. Rani Karnaa in 1981, Vikram Iyengar is graded solo artist with Calcutta Doordarshan, and registered with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre. He has performed for several prestigious institutions including the Sangeet Natak Akademi and Kathak Kendra, Delhi; Prithvi Theatre Festival, Mumbai and National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai. He has also travelled to USA, UK, Hong Kong, Moscow, Qatar and Bhutan. He is a recipient of the Government of India National Scholarship and National Junior Fellowship for Dance and holds a Sangeet Prabhakar from Prayag Sangit Samiti, Allahabad. An INLAKS scholar with an MA in Performing Arts from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Vikram has also taught Asian and Intercultural Theatre at BA and MA levels in the UK. He has contributed articles to various Indian and foreign publications, presented papers at international seminars, conducted a variety of workshops and worked on several arts research projects for institutions in India and abroad. Vikram's production work has spanned choreography for stage and film, dance-theatre, and performance collaborations. He has worked with several experimental performance directors in Europe in spaces ranging from traditional theatres to abandoned tram depots, medieval castles and Edwardian manors. Co-founder of Ranan, Vikram is Artistic Director of the company.