The Center of Music and Performing Arts, Natya Yatris

Artistic Director Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry, recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Theatre direction

The COMPANY was established in 1983 in Chandigarh. Led by it’s Artistic Director, Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry, it has earned renown for creating a theatre that fuses sources material from Western classics with a performance style grounded in an earthy Punjabi aesthetic. It’s productions are characterized by the use of spare props – sticks, fire, rice, washing poles – which evoke the ambiance of an Indian village, and incorporates music, ritualistic elements and the presentation of poetic images that communicate as strongly as words. Among its many performers a group of traditional Naqqals (female impersinators) who have had a long tradition of performers. Traditionally the Naqqals have a vast repertoire of traditional songs and ballads and a formidable capacity to improvise on, and lampoon, any whatever situation they are put in.


Inititally, when Neelam first encountered the Naqqals on her arrival in Chandigarh, she tried to cull from their rich traditions and intricate patterns of lost skills to find modes of dramatic expression that could add to her understanding of regional impulses. These had acuqired a deeper meaning in the context of the trauamtic crisis of language and culture that Punjab was going through at that time. The Naqqals and urban actors have now been working together for over two decades.






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