Indian Ensemble Yearly Review 2014


Dear all,

We wish you a very happy 2015!

Indian Ensemble saw some important milestones through 2014, thanks to your support, good wishes and encouragement. We opened 2 new productions and travelled on our international tour to the USA and performed at Carriage House Theatre in Hartford Connecticut and the Iseman Theatre at Yale. Some of the people who trained with us in programs such as the Indian Ensemble Repertory, The Theatre making program went on to win many awards and create new and varied productions this year. We are thankful to the Riad Mahmood Education and Arts Foundation for being with us and helping us to produce exciting work, spread new initiatives and explorations, we are also very grateful for each of you for your contribution, encouragement and support at every step.



One of our first productions of the year was Kaumudi. A result of a yearlong effort via readings, workshops etc we had the final shows in April at Rangashankara to critical acclaim.

Kaumudi is about a rite of passage. Using the moonlit timeless night on which Krishna delivered knowledge to Arjuna as its central trope,Kaumudi explores the dynamics between an estranged father-son duo who play Eklavya’s ghost and Abhimanyu respectively, in a theatre in late 1960’s Allahabad, over three days – the last three performances of a great actor who has nearly lost his sight; and, in so doing, the play brings to light the ghosts of caste-based injustices, the passing over of knowledge from a father to a son, a thespian to an upstart, the banality and beauty of art, and how an efficient mode of production ultimately replaces a lesser efficient mode. The play is inspired by two texts: Anand’s Malayalam Novel ‘ Vyasam Vigneswaram’ and Jorge Luis Borges’ essay ‘Blindness’.



The play KAUMUDI blends the splendour and the travails of theatre (the Rangmanch) with India’s glorious epic story – the Mahabharata. Like the epic, the play, written and directed by Abhishek Majumdar, is multilayered yet seamless. The production with its parallel and complementary themes comes together as a unique whole – See more at:

There are some theatrical experiences that, one realises instantly, cannot be discussed adequately in the space of a column. They demand a second viewing and more space. Such an experience was Kaumudi (Moonlight), written and directed by Bangalore’s Abhishek Majumdar. The play challenged viewers with multiple layers of meaning, speaking to them eloquently through each meticulously crafted element of theatre – script, performance, sound (Abhijeet Tambe) and light (Anmol Vellani).


Thook was commissioned by Hunger for Trade, an international theater network established to explore the problems and perspectives of the global food market. Conceived by SchauSpielHaus Hamburg, Hunger for Trade is comprised of nine artist companies from Belgium, Brazil, Burkina Faso, England, Germany, India, Romania, South Africa and Switzerland that have committed to gather to share research as well as develop performative strategies to establish an artistic discourse on the future of food in its global context. Core themes identified by the network include farming, trading, eating, starving, politics and markets, and food in art.

Riad Mahmood Foundation of Education and Arts along with the Boell Foundation, Germany and Goethe Institute / Max Mueller Bhavan were producing partners for the play. The show opened in May in Rangashankara and Max Mueller Bhavan to critical acclaim. Thook travelled to USA for performances in Carriage House Theatre, Connecticut & Iseman Theatre, Yale.


‘Theatre was taken to a whole new level with the impressively researched Thook… through four powerful stories, ranging from the documentary to the satirical The impressively-researched Thook was performed by a stellar cast comprising of Gopal Dutt Tiwari, Ashwini Kumar Chakre, Faezeh Jalali, Abhinav Kimothi and Irawati Karnik. Adding to the production was a brilliant script by Irawati Karnik and Sandeep Shikhar, direction by Abhishek Majumdar and live music, composed by Abhijeet Tambe..’

The Indian Ensemble’s original play “Thook” has activist ends — it examines issues of “food security, international trade and hunger,” according to the playbill — but succeeds in creating searing images of individual human suffering, compassion and humor’

IE Shows:

Jan:  Gasha is performed in Bangalore in collaboration with the Headstart Academy.

Gasha travelled to the Goa Theatre Festival

Apr:  Kaumudi opens to critical acclaim in Bangalore

May: Thook opens to critical acclaim in Bangalore

Aug: Treadmill & Gasha are performed in the Jagriti theatre, Bangalore

Thook performs at Carriage House Theatre, Connecticut in collaboration with Hartbeat Ensemble. It also performs                at the Iseman Theatre, Yalefollowed by a discussion and Q&A with the team. The Yale Daily News gives a great

review for Thook.

Nov: Kaumudi performs at the 10th Rangashankara Theatre Festival

We had a total of 35 shows this year, including 2 new productions


New Voices Arts Project

IE started the New Voices Art Project with support from generous individual contributors to support emerging directors / theatre practitioners in producing new works of their choice. The first play to be supported via this endeavour was Ramneek Singh’s ‘Chidiyon ka Pinjara’ The play had earlier won the ‘Shyamand Jalal’ Award and the TFA award for creative writing and had shows in Jagriti and Rangashankara this year.

The next work to be supported is a play on the story of Bhima by Vivek Vikaykumaran using his training of Kudiyattam over the last few years.

Director’s Training Program

The Director’s Training Program was started in November with 4 students, Basav Biradar, Amit Sharma, Anju Alva Naik and Karen D’Mello. The students have already put up individual scenes from Sakharam Binder. We are supported in this endeavor from this year onwards by the Riad Mahmood Education and Arts Foundation.

Karen D’Mello joined the IE team as a program intern for a period of a year.

Abhinav Kimothi joined Indian Ensemble as a repertory actor and to head the finance function.

Naveen Kumar, Karen D’Mello and Priyanka Krishna went on an internship to Gadchiroli for a period of 10 days to Gondwana University.

Awards & Scholarships

Ramneek Singh received the prestigious Inlaks Scholarship to continue his studies at LISPA for the second year

Anshuman Acharya and Basav Biradar were long listed for the Hindu Metroplus award and Anshuman Acharya went on to win the Hindu Metroplus Playwright award for 2014

Chanakya Vyas completed his first year at LISPA and was long listed for the TFA Award in Creative Writing

Ashwini Kumar Chakre (An actor in various Indian Ensemble productions and a regular member), Arpita Phukan Biswas and Ramneek Singh were selected for the Writer’s Bloc program in collaboration with the Royal Court Theatre and Rage Productions, They completed a 15 day residency in Hampi for the same

Abhishek Majumdar won the 1st Shankar Nag Theatre Award

Rizwaan, one of the early plays of Indian Ensemble will be a part of a series of lectures in  March 2015 at the Cartoucherie, Théâtre du Soleil in Paris, during its 25th year celebrations in France. The text has been translated to French by Annette Leday. Two other plays will also be read : Girish Karnad’s Naga Mandala and Annie Zaidi’s Jaal. This will be part of a festival INDIA SCENE 1

Abhishek Majumdar was a part of the Pierson College Master’s Tea hosted by the Pierson Master Professor Stephen Davies when Thook performed at Yale

Abhishek Majumdar was one of 10 playwrights from all over the world to be read at 2014 PEN America’s WORLD VOICES Festival of International Literature. – See more at:


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We are gearing up to perform in the festivals – ITFOK, Kerala, Bareilly International Theatre Festival, Vinod Doshi Festival, The Repertoire Festival Lucknow with Kaumudi in the coming few months.

We thank you and look forward to your continued support.



Indian Ensemble Team


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