(Last Updated on : 18/06/2012)
Theatre companies in Andhra Pradesh popularised the theatrical activities in the present southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh as early as the second century BC. Initially these companies were actually referred as the troupes, which sponsored their own shows with collected funds. However, with passing days, financially strong theatre companies in Andhra Pradesh took up the responsibility to produce the Telugu plays.
The Nagarjunakonda excavations discovered an amphitheatre dated by researchers to the second or third century AD. Telugu theatre has probably started during the fourteenth century and belongs to the genre of vithi, one of the ten rupakas. Folk theatre in Andhra Pradesh entertained the rural public, presently there are many rural theatre companies in Andhra Pradesh dealing with these kinds of theatres. After the introduction of English education in the nineteenth century, Telugu drama emerged as a distinct literary genre and then the theatre companies in Andhra Pradesh worked hard to establish this form of theatre in the nation.
Nadella's National Theatrical Society with Eemani Laxmana Swamy as the main actor, produced several dramas in Hindi, following the Dharwada Company's practice. These theatre companies in Andhra Pradesh initiated many innovative theatre stages and art od state facilities to entertain the audiences. New authors, basically poets, began writing plays for the theatre companies in Andhra Pradesh; they inspired different groups to play the brilliant scipts. Most of these plays have gained national recognition.
The theatre companies in Andhra Pradesh and actors made possible a sustainable professional theatre, which led to the establishment of more commercial companies in the next decade. The frequent visits of Parsi troupes to Andhra influenced the theatre companies in Andhra Pradesh to introduce different forms of lighting and decoration. The first three decades of the twentieth century of Telugu theatre witnessed the birth and death of the commercial theatre companies in Andhra Pradesh and with it the decline of the musical. The Hindu Nataka Samajam, Rajahmundry, started as an amateur association and still has special prominence in the state. Nataka Kala Parishath (ANKP), Praja Natya Mandali (PNM), and Andhra University Experimental Theatre (AUET) are also some of the important theatre companies in Andhra Pradesh.