Long before the introduction of cinema, our ancestors came up with a creative form of art that we practise even today. No prizes for guessing – it is the beloved theatre! It’s an art form where actors perform before a live audience. The purpose of the act could vary – communicating a story, inspiring a change, developing imagination, or mere entertainment. There were no limits set for the simplicity or complexity of the story. The success of a play lies in the way it is received by the viewers. While we enjoy the modern version of this incredible art form, there are many interesting facts associated with its history. Let’s know more about the traditional theatre in India.
Theatre is an art form which has evolved over centuries and continues to fascinate people from all spheres of life. Indian theatre culture is over 5,000 years old. It is said to have emerged sometime in the 4th century B.C., with the earliest forms originating in Sanskrit theatre. Bharata Muni, an ancient Indian theatrologist, made great contributions to this field by writing his magnum opus, the Natyashastra. The 36 volumes of this work describe the theories of theatrical performances based on style and motion
Theatre performances in India bring together multiple forms of fine arts. Indian theatre began in a narrative form with various elements of reciting, singing and dancing. Today, they seamlessly combine literature, music, dance, mime, painting, sculpture and architecture to present a meaningful story. The practice of constantly evolving with time has made Indian theatre an evergreen art form
Indian theatre can be broadly classified into three phases – classical, traditional and modern. Plays in the classical period were mainly based on epics and folk tales in Sanskrit that were presented through gestures. This phase lasted up to 1000 A.D. The traditional period, from 1000 A.D. to 1700 A.D., saw the emergence of regional languages which introduced the practice of oral tradition in theatre. The period that followed is regarded as the modern era of Indian theatre
In the modern era, Indian theatre began to mirror Western theatre. The British rule was the driving force behind this transformation. In the late 1800s, artistes began creating narratives depicting relatable stories of the common man. With an abundance of talent and advancement in communication and technology, Indian theatre has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few decades