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V. Balakrishnan, an alumnus of Sri Ram Centre for Performing Arts (New Delhi) and the National School of Drama (New Delhi), is the founder and artistic director of Theatre Nisha (Chennai), and has staged over 120 plays in the past 19 years under its banner. He was awarded the Charles Wallace Scholarship to attend an International Residency for Young Directors with the Royal Court Theatre, London. He is an ICCR empanelled Theatre Director.


He currently teaches theatre at Arsha Vidya Mandir, Alpha to Omega Learning Centre, Mindscreen Film Institute, LV Prasad Institute and is an adjunct faculty at the Asian College of Journalism. He has been using theatre as a tool to improve communication in children with learning disabilities for nearly two decades. He has been associated with over 15 schools in his teaching career, and taught several budding actors at the Balu Mahendra Insitute, LVP Prasad Institute and Rajiv Menon’s Mindscreen. He has directed over 200 plays, acted in over 150 plays and written more than 10 scripts.

He has worked with several international dancers and theatre professionals on collaborative projects, including Performance Group Tuida, from South Korea. He has to his credit several workshops on different aspects of theatre, which have benefitted artists, teachers, dancers, students, and members of marginalised communities.

In 2015, he was invited to be a TEDx speaker at the Bangalore convention, where he spoke on 'How to Create a Character?' 

In 2017, he was awarded the Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching (FDAT) and returned having completed a 4-month inquiry-based project from Indiana University.

In 2018, the Rotary Club of Madras East conferred the Droncharya Award on him for his contributions to theatre education.

In 2019, he won the Hindu Playwright Award for his script ‘Sordid’. Most recently he was chosen for the Arts for Good Fellowship 2019 organised by the Singapore International Foundation which was a three part fellowship on creative empowerment for children and youth. 

‘Balakrishnan moves with a dancer's grace on stage’
(Mathemagician, 2009)

‘When Ayn Rand was quoted by Tathagath in The Purification Hunt, it was time for applause. The man was Atlas, carrying the weight of the play skilfully on his shoulders. Hats off to the playwright and director, V. Balakrishnan for the strong script and Theatre Nisha’s performance was Chennai’s filter kaapi — strong and lingering.’

(The Purification Hunt, 2012)


Read interviews with the man himself, on our 'In the News' page.

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