Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Delhi Ibsen Festival 2009

I would like Spacing Theatre to be an open forum/journal where anyone can write about theatre/performing arts, share news/views/experiences around us. It would be great that many writers from around the world can write and send relevant material to me so that it get posted here. Elizabeth Ike has send me a first report on the Ibsen festival at New Delhi which you read below. Thanking Elizabeth and other future writers to write in Spacing theatre, I reiterate that the ideas/opinions expressed in such articles will be of the writer and not of spacing theatre.

Delhi Ibsen Festival 2009 – Elizabeth Ike


The Delhi Ibsen Festival was started in 2008 by The Dramatic Art & Design Academy (DADA) under the auspices of the Norwegian Embassy. The focus of the festival therefore is to look and explore the dimensions of theatre through a playwright like Ibsen, who is considered to be at par with Shakespeare and the playwrights of such stature. The Delhi Ibsen Festival will be a calendar event which takes place in the month of December each year, and will continue for the next four years.

Last year, the festival showcased 6 Indian and International productions. This included commissioning of 3 established directors from around the country – Neelam Mansingh, Ratan Thiyam and Anuradha Kapur, to do a new Ibsen production of their choice. DADA considers the commissioning productions of Ibsen as an essential part of my presenting a new approach to Ibsen’s writings, in a modern and contemporary context. The impact of the Delhi Ibsen Festival 2008, was extraordinary and generated much discussion in theatre circuits in Delhi, and other parts of India. This year, we grow in strength, and the audiences will get to see 9 productions of Ibsen – 5 Indian, and 5 International.

DADA is now making preparations for the second Delhi Ibsen Festival in December 2009. Much time has passed since the early years when directors used to do Ibsen in the 60's and 70's. Now not only has the theatre movement in India matured, but distinctive styles in the work of a second and third generation of theatre directors after Independence, is much more evolved and identifiable.   These directors who began their professional work in the later 1960’s and early 1970’,s stylistically developed with their own personal signatures, and identities.

The relevance of Ibsen in the Indian context has also changed. His contribution to Indian theatre from the 1930’s to the mid-1960’s had undoubtedly been seminal, but the challenge of doing an Ibsen in the 21st century is different. Ibsen's writing now has a different resonance in the contemporary scenario of Indian theatre, in a country that celebrates an emerging democracy, grappling with a new social and political order. Re-looking at Ibsen will be more interesting now from a socio-economic and political viewpoint.

One of the highlights of the Delhi Ibsen Festival 2009, is the decision to present the work of 4 young directors from diverse backgrounds, with well-defined individual preferences and a predominantly modern approach. The festival also celebrates plays from many Asian countries, which will present an Asian Inter-cultural perspective, rather than looking at Ibsen from a Western standpoint.

The festival highlights the work of a younger generation of urbanized Indian theatre directors, selected for their modern approach to theatre. Hence, 4 young and upcoming directors from diverse backgrounds have been selected. Each of them has their own distinctive styles, and has developed new and path breaking approaches to theatre. Their craft is more identifiable to audiences and evolves into unique pieces, stylized to suit the modern day set up. In our opinion, the re-looking at Ibsen in the current context will be exciting as well as challenging.

The Ibsen Festival is being organized in December this year, from the 3rd till the 13th. Following are the details :

Dates : 3rd - 13th 2009

Venue : Kamani, LTG, Meghdoot Auditorium

Time : 7pm onwards

Contact Details : 9871419481, 9958111319, 9810166643

E Mail : Website :


Elizabeth Ike is doing her M.Phil In theatre and performance studies, at the school of arts and Aesthetics, JNU, New Delhi.


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