India is known to have encouraged oral traditions of passing information unlike in the West, where the methods of historiography were largely written. This element of orality led to the development of the systems where oral and gestural communication met recreation, thus leading to the development of Theatrics. Theatre has been known for its all-encompassing nature as it provides a stage for various art forms like music, dance, acting and literary works. The history of Indian Theatres can be traced back to the second century BCE when dramas were staged in the then prevalent languages such as Sanskrit and Prakrit. With the invasion of foreign rulers and invaders, the performance of theatrics was almost forbidden. Only between the nineteenth and the twentieth century did the theatre emerge as an incredibly moving art form and even workspace. The post-independent state of India saw a widespread of the theatres feeding equal parts the theatre companies and their audiences. Delhi has been flooded with enormously talented and respectable theatres that tell their audiences the stories of illustrious past and melancholic tragedies. Some of the most flourished theatres in Delhi are as follows:
1. Sur Tal Open Theatre
An open-air theatre amidst the green bushes of Talkatora Indoor Stadium, Sur Tal Open Theatre is one of the must-have experiences if you are at all fascinated by the world of theatres and performing arts. The open auditorium can fit around 150-200 people in its terrace seating arrangement. Not only plays, but the theatre organizes various classical music and dance performances lending the stage to the artists all over the country. You can even host events like concerts and exhibitions here.
Location: Talkatora Garden, President’s Estate, New Delhi, Delhi 110001
2. Falaknuma and Hamsadhwani Theatre
Yet another open-air theatre, Hamsadhwani and Falaknuma Theatre is centrally located in Pragati Maidan. The open-air settings can easily accommodate nearly 200 people. The theatre stages exquisite dramas and recitals along with screening movies, music concerts, dance performances and other cultural events.
Location: Pragati Maidan, Janpath, New Delhi H. O., Delhi 110001
3. Nigam Rangshala
Bringing to life the mythical characters of the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana, Nigam Rangshala is truly the galore of Indian culture and conventional storytelling backed with the colossal modern-day sets and production. Nigam Rangshala is a must-visit if you want to soak in the pure bliss of engaging in a compelling staging of stories manifesting themselves in manifolds.
Location: Nigam Rangshala Auditorium, Kashmere Gate, Delhi 110006
4. Akshara Theatre
Founded by the playwright and director Gopal Sharman and his wife, Akshara Theatre is a forty-four-year-old iconic amphitheatre with a long list of achievements and masterpieces. The spot is an exquisite art complex and a cultural centre with the most traditional interiors one can think of about a theatre but still is appealing and nice. This is one of the oldest theatres in Delhi and has been a pioneer in many ways. Akshara Theatre is a must-visit as it allows one to peep into the olden times of Indian theatres.
Location: 11-B Baba Kharak Singh Road, Gate no. 5, New Delhi 110001
5. Triveni Kala Sangam
Triveni Kala Sangam is an eminent cultural and arts complex. It was founded by Lt. Sundari K. Shridharani in 1950. Triveni houses four large art galleries, a chamber theatre, an outdoor theatre and an open-air sculpture gallery. Not just dramatics, but the premise has facilities to let all possible art forms to flourish, right from painting, dancing, music, photography and even sculpting. This one place can render you with all kinds of creative stimulus and artsy experience. You can host or visit excellent art exhibitions, dance performances, music concerts and dramas.
Location: 205, Tansen Marg, Todermal Road Area, Mandi House, New Delhi 110001
6. National School of Drama
A much-renowned training institute, National School of Drama or NSD attracts the brilliant creative spirits all over the country to come and polish their skills. It was founded in 1959 and is now under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. With three magnum auditoria, NSD serves as a Launchpad for numerous artists to reach the audiences staging the best of their arts. Apart from the three auditoria by the names Abhimanch, Sammukh and Bahumukh, the premise of NSD has studio theatre and performance spaces where you can witness the magic of theatrics mingling with other forms of art.
Location: House 1, Bahawalpur, Bhagwan Das Road, opposite PNB Bank, Mandi House, New Delhi
7. Lok Kala Manch
Lok Kala Manch is a fully air-conditioned auditorium that calls for art enthusiasts and connoisseurs. It has an art gallery and a seminar hall. You can hold or enjoy various cultural events like dance and music performances or movie screenings. The non-profit organisation which looks after its smooth running also provides classes in Bharatanatyam, Carnatic music, Chhau, drama, Tabla and much more. The organisation invites prominent personalities from respective fields and holds interactive sessions with the learners.
Location: 20, Lodhi Institutional Area, New Lodhi Road, New Delhi
8. Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts
SRCPA is one of the most famous theatres and training centres for music, dance and drama in Delhi The auditorium and decadent stages are all so enticing for an artist. You can experience the best of every art form here. From ethereal music performances and the most parfait theatrical plays to amazing dance recitals, SRCPA has something from everyone. The institute provides a stage to the prominent groups and personalities and the learning school groups.
Location: 4, Safdar Hashmi Marg, Todermal Road Area, Mandi House, New Delhi, Delhi 110001