(Last Updated on : 25/07/2009)
Natmandala, the theatre school is a first of its kind in India and performing troupe of Gujarat Vidya Sabha, Ahmedabad. At the Sabha's centenary celebrations in 1948, parliamentarian and Professor Ganesh Mavlankar and writer Rasiklal Parikh envisioned an institute to launch proper and relevant theatre training in Gujarat. Natmandal was housed in the old Premabhai Hall in the city's central Bhadra area. Performances and rehearsals continued throughout the year. During its two-decade existence, major productions included Sanskrit classics like Bhasa
's Urubhanga and Bodhayana's Bhagavadajjukiya. Gujarati plays like Ramanbhai Neelkanth's Rainoparvat or Mustard seed to Mountain', Parikh's Mena Gurjari or 'Mena of Gujarat', and Dalpatram's Mithyabhiman or 'False Vanity' were famous.
Saratchandra Chatterjee's Vijaya and Biraj bahu i.e. 'Biraj the Bride', Tagore's Chitrangada and Muktadhara, Ibsen's Doll's House and Enemy of the People were also mentionable. Natmandal was a main centre of new Gujarati theatre
, with an experimental and academic approach, teaching actors and directors, encouraging writers, set designers as also audiences. Many trained in its great traditions include Jashwant Thaker, Dina Pathak, Pransukh Nayak, Dhananjay Thaker, Prabhaben and Arvind Pathak, and Kailash Pandya.
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