Sunil Shanbag is a Mumbai-based theatre director and producer, and the artistic director of the Arpana theatre company. He uses strong original...
Why is it that theatre periodically seeks out alternate spaces for performance? What do these alternate spaces represent? And why are they important, both for theatre and for society?
The city of Mumbai has a rich history of alternate spaces generating new energies and ideas for theatre. The last few years in Mumbai have seen a re-flowering of alternate spaces for the performing arts. Little spaces have popped up in Bandra, Andheri, Malad, Parel and elsewhere - some in bars and restaurants, some in shared workspaces, some in gymkhanas and some just as standalone alternate spaces. These spaces have given an impetus to theatre groups to create smaller, intimate, often experimental work, playing with ideas, stories and forms that are comparatively minimal and flexible in their presentation. Audiences too seem to be eager for these experiences, and a wonderful little buzz has been building up across the city.
We are delighted to invite Sunil Shanbag - theatre director and producer - to Mumbai Local once again, to share with us the fascinating history of alternate spaces in the city of Mumbai. Sunil began his life in theatre at the alternative space of Chhabildas Theatre, went on to experiment regularly with other alternative space possibilities across Mumbai, and has recently, along with Sapan Saran, opened the lovely space of Studio Tamaasha in Aaram Nagar, Versova. Having experienced alternative spaces over time, Sunil is quick to point out that the impetus behind these spaces, and what they impact, is different each time. Sometimes these spaces are a flash in the pan. At other times, they give rise to possibilities that have a more long-term impact on theatre-making.
Look forward to an evening where we weave through time and magical spaces in Mumbai, looking through the eyes of a practitioner at the contexts that gave rise to alternative spaces, and the theatre journeys that got triggered as a result. Find out how the need of the theatre practitioner meets a social need, to give us some of the most fascinating modern expressions in theatre.
See you on Saturday, 7th October, 5 pm at MCubed Library. And a gentle reminder - in keeping with the spirit of Mumbai Local, do send this email on to at least 5 of your friends who would be interested - the more people who join us the merrier!
@ MCubed Library, Bandra (W) - 1st Sat, 5 pm
@ Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Byculla (E) - 2nd Sun, 5 pm
@ Kitab Khana, Fort - 3rd Fri, 5:30 pm
Sunil Shanbag is a Mumbai-based theatre director and producer, and the artistic director of the Arpana theatre company. He uses strong original texts, innovative staging techniques and powerful performances to make his theatre exciting and meaningful in today's times.
His production of Ramu Ramnathan's COTTON 56, POLYESTER 84 looked at the history of Mumbai's textile mills through the eyes of two mill workers. In 2010 his SEX, MORALITY AND CENSORSHIP developed in collaboration with writers Shanta Gokhale and Irawati Karnik introduced audiences to a contemporary "documentary theatre" style.
STORIES IN A SONG developed with eminent musicians Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan brings a ethnographic approach to Indian music history. His Gujarati adaptation of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well for the prestigious Globe to Globe International Shakespeare theatre festival in London in 2012, placed the original play within the history of the Gujarati mercantile community. More recently he worked with the Theater Freiburg, Germany, on a theatre production of Kiran Nagarkar's book, God's Little Soldier.
Sunil's wider interests in theatre has seen him engage intensively in training, theatre in education, research, developing new and alternative performance venues in the city, writing on theatre, and mentoring young theatre directors, and writers. Sunil is also an award winning documentary filmmaker with several independent films to his credit. His interest in history has seen him work closely with museum designers towards a contemporary approach to historical narratives.