National School of Drama

National School of Drama
National School of Drama
राष्ट्रीय नाट्य विद्यालय
Stylized image of a mask surrounded by flames
Established 1959
Type Public
Chairman Amal Allana (2005-present
Director Anuradha Kapur (July 2007-present)
Location New Delhi, India
Campus Urban
Affiliations Sangeet Natak Akademi

National School of Drama (NSD) is a theatre training institute situated at New Delhi, India, established . It is an autonomous organization under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. It was set up in 1959 by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, and became an independent school in 1975.[1] In 2005 it was granted deemed university status, but in 2011 it was revoked on the institute's request.



The origins of the school can be traced back to a seminar in 1954, where the idea of a Central institution for theatre was mooted, subsequently a draft scheme was prepared in 1955, and the Sangeet Natak Akademi, which had Jawaharlal Nehru as its president, started drawing plans for the institution. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Delhi, Bharatiya Natya Sangh (BNS) with assistance from UNESCO, independently established the 'Asian Theatre Institute' (ATI) on January 20, 1958, and in July 1958, ATI was taken over by the Sangeet Natak Akademi (SNA), India’s National Academy of Music, dance and drama of Government of India.[2][3]

In the following year, the government merged it with the newly founded school, and thus NSD was established in April 1959 under the auspices of Sangeet Natak Akademi. Initially the school was situated at Nizamuddin West, and was called 'National School of Drama and Asian Theatre Institute, whose first batch passed out in 1961. During his tenure as the director of the institution, Ebrahim Alkazi (1962–1977), not just overhauled the syllabus, but also had the students dig and build platforms for a theatre in the backyard of a rented Kailash Colony house, where NSD had moved.[4] Later when it moved to it present location, he also designed two theatre for NSD, including a 200-seat studio theatre, and the open-air 'Meghdoot theatre', under a banyan tree.[3][5]

In 1975 it became autonomous organization, under the erstwhile Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture, Department of Culture, with the name 'National School of Drama' and relocated in May 1975, to its present premises at Bhawalpur House, the residence of Bahawalpur a former princely state, now in Pakistan, also known as Mandi House.[3] In 1999, the School organized its first National Theatre Festival, 'Bharat Rang Mahotsav', generally held during the second week of January each year.

On 16 March 2005, the Govt. of India, declared its new status as a deemed university.[6][7] In 2008, the institution celebrated its golden jubilee at its annual theatre festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav, with a gathering of its alumni from all over the country,[8] the festival’s satellite edition in Mumbai showcased plays of NSD graduates, including Ratan Thiyam’s Prologue, Bansi Kaul (Aranyadhipati Tantiya), Neelam Mansingh Chowdhury (The Suit), Sanjay Upadhyay (Harsingar), Baharul Islam (Akash), Mohan Maharishi (Dear Bapu) and M K Raina (Stay Yet Awhile).[9]

In 2010 the NSD Society asked for the deemed university status to be revoked since "[it] could undermine the professional training, autonomy and flexibility required in the creative fields such as theatre." In October 2011 the status was revoked.[10]

Performing Wings

Repertory Company

Play by the NSD at the Anugoonj, 2011 (cultural festival of the GGSIPU, Delhi)

The professional performing wing of NSD, the 'National School of Drama' Repertory Company was set up in 1964, with an aim to promote professional theatre in India. It first head was Om Shivpuri, followed by Manohar Singh, Ram Gopal Bajaj (Acting Chief), J.N. Kaushal (Acting Chief), Anuradha Kapur (Acting Chief), and Suresh Sharma, Atul Singhai (Animation chief).

Today, the Repertory Company, has staged over 120 plays based on the works of about 70 playwrights and featuring around 50 directors in several countries, and various cities across the nation, and has its own festival every year, called Annual Repertory Company Summer Festival, in which it perform new and past plays.[11] In 2004, the repertory celebrated its 40th anniversary with a theatre festival in New Delhi.[12]

Sanskaar Rang Toli

In 1989 NSD established the ‘Theatre-in-Education Company’ (T.I.E), called 'Sanskaar Rang Toli' , today it has become India's premier educational resource centres, and coaches children aged 8 to 16 years. The company regularly performs plays for school and adults audiences alike, and has its own yearly theatre festivals, 'Jashn-e-Bachpan' and Bal Sangam.[13]

Regional Centres

In a bid to decentralize its activities, NSD opened Regional Resource Centres (RRC) across India, the first of which was opened at Bangalore in 1994.[3]

Bharat Rang Mahotsav

Bharat Rang Mahotsav, or the 'National Theatre Festival', established in 1999, is the annual theatre festival of National School of Drama (NSD), held in New Delhi, today it is acknowledged as the largest theatre festival of Asia, dedicated solely to theatre.[14]

Awards won by NSD Alumni

Padma Bhushan

Padma Shri

B.V. Karanth, Naseeruddin Shah, Ratan Thiyam, Om Puri, Ram Gopal Bajaj, Anupam Kher, Irrfan Khan

Kalidas Samman

B.V. Karanth, Devendra Raj Ankur.

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award

B.V. Karanth, V. Ramamurthy, B.M. Shah, Manohar Singh, Uttara Baokar, Ratan Thiyam, Prasanna , Surekha Sikri, Naseeruddin Shah, Mohan Maharishi, M.K. Raina, Bansi Kaul, Ram Gopal Bajaj, B. Jayashree, Bhanu Bharti, Amal Allana, Dulal Roy, Rita G. Kothari, Robin Das, Seema Biswas, Gurucharan Singh Channi, Dolly Ahluwalia, Prem Matiyani, Nadira Babbar, Shanta Gandhi, Ashok Sagar Bhagat, J.N. Kaushal, Devendra Raj Ankur, Anuradha Kapur, Suresh Bhardwaj, H.V.Sharma, Ranjit Kapoor, V.K.Sharma,[15]

Chaman Lal Memorial Awards for excellence in theatre

G.N.Dasgupta, H.V.Sharma, Sudhir Kulkarni, Dolly Ahluwalia, Suresh Bhardwaj

National Film Awards

Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Lyrics
Best Costume Design
National Film Award – Special Jury Award / Special Mention (Feature Film)
  • Pankaj Kapur 1991

Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema

Award for Best Actress/Actor

Chairpersons of NSD

Directors of NSD

NSD has had a string of illustrious theatre personalities as its directors.

Performing spaces

The schools has three auditoriums within the campus:

  • Abhimanch Auditorium
  • Sammukh Auditorium
  • Bahumukh Auditorium

Apart from that it has a studio theatre and minor performances spaces used on special occasions, like the Bharat Rangmahotsav.

See also


  1. ^ Training - National School of DramaThe Columbia encyclopedia of modern drama, by Gabrielle H. Cody, Evert Sprinchorn. Columbia University Press, 2007. ISBN 0231144229. Page 766.
  2. ^ National School of Drama ..over the past 50 years The Tribune 15 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d NSD Genesis NSD website
  4. ^ "Theatre is revelation (Interview)". The Hindu. Feb 24, 2008. 
  5. ^ National School of Drama The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre: Asia/Pacific, by Don Rubin. Published by Taylor & Francis, 2001. ISBN 0415260876. Page 168.
  6. ^ National School of Drama gets Deemed University Status Ministry of Human Resource Development 16 March 2005."The Government has declared the National School of Drama, New Delhi as Deemed to be University with immediate effect."
  7. ^ NSD declared deemed university Deccan Herald 16 March 2005.
  8. ^ National School of Drama celebrates golden jubilee in style The Economic Times, 12 January 2008.
  9. ^ "The Graduates". Indian Express. December 28, 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  10. ^ "The Hindu : News / National : NSD loses deemed varsity status on own request". Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Repertory
  12. ^ 40 Not Dut Indian Express 20 May 2004.
  13. ^ T.I.E.
  14. ^ "11th Bharat Rang Mahotsav to begin from Jan 7". Financial Express. Jan 05, 2009. 
  15. ^ "SNA: List of Akademi Awardees". Sangeet Natak Akademi Official website. .
  16. ^ NSD chairperson NSD website.
  17. ^ Previous Directors National School of Drama, Official website.

Further reading

  • Rang yatra: twenty-five years of the National School of Drama Repertory Company, by National School of Drama. Published by National School of Drama, 1992.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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