(Last Updated on : 18/06/2012)
Indian theatre, an integral diaspora of Indian entertainment scenario has its roots deeply seated in the antiquities of Sanskrit theatre. Indian theatre has been influencing all age groups who find pleasure in the arena of performing arts and the Indian theatre schools are some such organisations that hone the talents of acting on stage. Characters in Indian theatre indeed played the major role in shaping the contour of theatre. The actors who play the characters in Indian theatre are usually the students or learners in the Indian theatre schools.
In ancient days, there were no Indian theatre schools, rather theatre in India began with the Rigvedic dialogue hymns during the Vedic period, and Sanskrit drama was established as a distinct art form in the last few centuries BC. However, during the Middle Ages, the Indian subcontinent was invaded a number of times. This played a major role in determining the Indian culture and heritage. British India, as a colony of the British Empire, used theatre as one of its prime instrument to protest. To oppose, the British Government had to impose "Dramatic Performance Act" in 1876. From the last half of the 19th century, Indian theatre schools experienced a boost in numbers and practice.
India, being a multi-cultural nation, the Indian theatre schools followed the fusion of cultures. The pattern of teaching in these Indian theatre schools cannot be associated with a unique trend and feature. Presently, major Indian theatre schools are the spread in the metropolitan cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai for its vast exposure to Indian theatrical works. National School of Drama (NSD), India`s premier Indian theatre school situated at New Delhi and is an autonomous organization under Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. This Indian theatre school was established in 1959 under the auspices of Sangeet Natak Akademi (Government of India), and its first batch passed out in 1961. This institution became autonomous in 1975 it and in 2005 it gained the status of a deemed university.
Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts (BNA) is another Indian theatre school at Lucknow. This autonomous organization works under Ministry of Culture and was established in 1975 under the auspices of Sangeet Natak Akademi (Government of Uttar Pradesh). Its first batch passed out in 1977; in 1977 it became autonomous and in 2008 it gained the status of a deemed university.
India is one of the few countries, which can boast of an array of indigenous Indian theatre schools, and the varied curriculum in the Indian theatre schools amidst their myriad forms and patterns further establish this art form to illustrate the unspoken thoughts. The journey of Indian theatre schools is long yet profuse. The Sanskrit drama gradually faded away leaving space to improvisations of the Indian theatre schools.