Seminar: "The creative archive: exploration of performance narrative through memory, oral histories and documents" by Mr. Sunil Shanbag

Seminar: "The creative archive: exploration of performance narrative through memory, oral histories and documents" by  Mr. Sunil Shanbag


     Since 2006 when he worked on Ramu Ramnathan’s play, Cotton 56, Polyester 84, a lot of his theatre work has attempted to frame ideas that interest me within clear socio-political and cultural contexts. This has meant a fair deal of research, often delving into formal and informal archives, memory, and oral histories spanning varied cultural continents. Sometimes archives are located, and sometimes created to enable the work to happen.  His own interest in history, and an extended period of making independent documentaries with some of India’s leading practitioners are strong influences on my work. His effort has been to find connections, links, between seemingly disparate events/phenomena and to use the theatre to illuminate our contemporary situation. What excites me hugely is the willingness of audiences to engage with this approach which has allowed me to work both in the mainstream and alternative space.  

His talk/presentation will trace my journey over the last 15 odd years working with archives and theatre.

About the Speaker:

    Sunil Shanbag is this year’s Sangeet Natak Academy Awardee for theatre direction. He is a Mumbai-based theatre director and producer, and the artistic director of the Arpana theatre company. Over the past twenty years he has established a style that uses strong original texts, innovative staging techniques and powerful performances to make his theatre meaningful in today's times. His production of Ramu Ramnathan’s COTTON 56, POLYESTER 84 played at every major theatre festival and venue in the country. In 2010 his S*X, M*RALITY AND CENS*RSHIP developed in collaboration with writers Shanta Gokhale and Irawati Karnik introduced audiences to a contemporary “documentary theatre” style. DREAMS OF TALEEM, written by Sachin Kundalkar, was a critically acclaimed exploration of the idea of “being different” in modern Indian society. In 2010 Sunil worked with writer Vivek Narayan to juxtapose Rabindranath Tagore’s play Dak Ghar, with the stirring historical story of the Polish pediatrician and intellectual, Dr Januz Korcak, to create WALKING TO THE SUN. In 2011, Sunil collaborated with musicians Shubha Mudgal and Aneesh Pradhan to create STORIES IN A SONG, using musicology, ethnography, history, and theatre to tell stories of a wide variety of Indian musical forms and genres. 

    In 2012 Sunil was invited by the Shakespeare Globe Theatre in London to produce a Gujarati adaptation of Shakespeare’s Alls Well That Ends Well. Working closely with writer Mihir Bhuta, he transposed the play to the mercantile Gujarati community in Saurashtra, and Mumbai in 1900, and used the popular Bhangwadi performance style to stage a musical production.  

   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.   

Event Date: 
Monday, 24 September 2018 - 5:30pm
Seminar Hall, Department of HSS
IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumbai