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Naya Theatre, founded in 1959, is a professional touring company that has been performing continuously across the length and breadth of India, as well as in many places abroad. The company began in Delhi but moved its base to Bhopal in the 90s. The core actors of Naya Theatre came from amongst the highly talented performers and singers of rural Chhatisgarh. However, Naya Theatre does not perform traditional or rural forms of theatre – from very early on, even before the group was established; Habib Tanvir had begun experiments with language, form and most importantly a mix of urban and rural performers.

The coming together of Tanvir and the Chhattisgarhi artistes eventually resulted in the creation of a unique, modern Indian Theatre idiom, which caught the imagination of the Indian Public with Charandas Chor and has never quite released it since. Habib Tanvir drew inspiration from sources as varied as Bertolt Brecht, classical Sanskrit dramaturgy and the folk theatre of India's villages. In line with his lifelong quest to create a new form of theatre that moved away from the realistic Stanislavskian tradition,Naya Theatre mixed indigenous performance styles to create a new theatrical language. He believed that a theatre of the people originated in the village and his collaborative work brought together folk performers and urban actors.


Habib Tanveer


Journalist, playwriter, producer, poet and Director, Habib Tanvir’s name is one of the most well known and respected names in the field of theatre. He was born on 1st September 1923 at Raipur, MP(now Chattisgarh). Having received his training in acting from RADA, London and in direction and production at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, UK, he founded Naya Theatre in 1959 and continued to be it’s director till his demise on 8th June 2009. In addition to being an active member of IPTA, Mumbai in his early days, he had also been an editor and drama critic. Some of his main productions include Agra Bazaar, Mitti Ki Gadi, CharandasChor, Jin Lahore NahiVekhya, Raj-Rakt and moany more.

He was the recipient of numerous awards and Felicitations such as including the Sangeet NatakAkademi Award in 1969, Jawarharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1979, Padma Shri in 1983, Kalidas Samman 1990, Sangeet NatakAkademi Fellowship in 1996, and the Padma Bhushan in 2002.[10] Apart from that he had also been nominated to become a member of the Upper House of Indian Parliament, the Rajya Sabha (1972–1978). His play CharandasChor (Charandas, The Thief) won him the Fringe Firsts Award at Edinburgh International Drama Festival in 1982 and in 2007, it was included in the Hindustan Times' list of 'India's 60 Best works since Independence which said : "an innovative dramaturgy equally impelled by Brecht and folk idioms, Habib Tanvir seduces across language barriers in this his all-time biggest hit about a Robin Hood-style thief.

In 2010, at the 12th Bharat Rang Mahotsav, the annual theatre festival of National School of Drama, Delhi, a tribute exhibition dedicated to life, works and theatre of Habib Tanvir and B.V. Karanth was displayed.


Ramchandra Singh


Born on 8 October 1959 in village Gamhariya, East Champaran district of Bihar, Shri Ramchandra Singh has learnt various traditional and folk theatre forms of Bihar like Natua Naach, Bidapat, Jharki Nritya, and Kirtaniya from local performing art troupes of his region. To hone his skills further, Shri Ramchandra Singh joined the Bhartendu Natya Academy, Lucknow for training in Dramatic Arts from 1986-87. After completion of his course, he has worked with eminent theatre directors like Shri Raj Bisaria, Mr Fritz Bennewitz, Shri Badal Sarkar, and others.

In the year 1992, he joined Naya Theatre, a group established by Habib Tanvir, eminent theatre director, playwright and poet. With this group, Shri Ramchandra Singh experimented with various folk performing art styles of Bihar and Chhattisgarh, which he creditably utilized in his performances in many plays directed by Habib Tanvir like Dekh Rahe Hain Nain, Mitti Ki Gadi, Charandas Chor, Gaon ka Naam Sasural Mor Naam Damad, Kamdev Ka Apna Basant Ritu Ka Sapna, Chanakya, Agra Bazaar and Zahreeli Hawa. Shri Ramchandra Singh has also worked as the Director of the group Naya Theatre for the year 2013-14. He has directed various plays like Konark, Ta Mein ek Itihas, Khamosh Juloos, and Hamlet, incorporating the various folk elements of Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

For his contribution to the folk theatre of Bihar, he has been felicitated by various cultural institutions of the country and has also been the recipient of a Senior Fellowship Award for Academic Research in the field of Theatre from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India (2008-2010).Shri Ramchandra Singh has received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to the folk theatre of Bihar.

Since the demise of Habib Tanvir in 2009, Ramchandra Singh is working as Director of Naya Theatre and taking the group to the new heights keeping the spirit of Habib Tanvir alive with unique presentation of Naya Theatre.