IN THE NEWS

Nov 6, 2020

A look at how theatre groups are keeping the drama alive during the pandemic

We created a recorded performance of Girish Karnad’s Crossing to Talikota. With the support of Alliance Française of Madras and Nilekani Philanthropies, we were able to release the performance on YouTube

May 14, 2020

‘No amount of VR/AR or live recordings can come close to the live theatre experience’ — V Bala, Theatre Nisha, Chennai

It is quite ambitious to call theatre an industry in the Indian context. Theatre at best is patronised, sometimes self-reliant, and mostly sponsored. Artists earning their entire income from theatre are very rare.

Apr 22, 2020

Drama during COVID-19: How theatre is going online

From play-readings and performances on Facebook live, to apps that access playscripts, the online space is giving theatre lovers in the city the much-needed antidote to these grim days

Dec 10, 2018

Provoke Lifestyle - "Theatre in the time of #metoo"

"Theatre is a democratic craft and the first thing that has gone wrong with it is the establishment and the celebration of a hierarchy."

Nov 23, 2018

PagalGuy - "Camera Action @ LIBA Theatre"

"...it was a rejuvenating relief to have this session amidst the internship week, as it helped us explore various hidden dimensions of our personality through a fun-filled learning process."

Nov 12, 2018

The New Indian Express - "Pro-Modi posts account for major chunk of fake news: BBC report"

The conference also included a play by Theatre Nisha, highlighting the simple yet compulsive ways misinformation is spread on social media and advertising.

Oct 28, 2018

Entertainment Times - "The need of the hour: Forming a complaints committee for theatre groups"

V Balakrishnan from Theatre Nisha concurs, “I think setting up an ICC is something every theatre group that has 10 or more members should religiously follow."

Oct 13, 2018

The News Minute - "Chennai theatre’s MeToo: Do groups in the city have an Internal Complaints Committee?"

While founders of city-based theatre groups defend not having a redressal mechanism owing to how ‘fluid’ the structure is, lawyers and activists contest this.

Aug 30, 2018

The New Indian Express - "How Theatre Nisha's Bala is using theatre to change gender stereotypes among kids"

V Balakrishnan of Theatre Nisha is using theatre to break gender stereotypes and is training kids from underprivileged backgrounds and also those with learning disabilities

Aug 16, 2018

The News Minute: "It's time to break free: Theatre-based workshops for kids"

TNM talks to Theatre Nisha’s Balakrishnan, who has provided theatre training to over 1,000 kids from underprivileged and marginal backgrounds

Jun 11, 2018

The New Indian Express - "Awarding the Gurus"

The Rotary Club of Madras East confers the Dhronacharya award to pathbreaking teachers. This year’s recipients were yoga guru S Sridharan and theatre veteran V Balakrishnan.

Feb 27, 2018

The Hindu - Spotlight on the night sky

With a cast dominated by the differently-abled, Aruna and the Raging Sun lit up the horizon

Feb 22, 2018

The Hindu - "The stars are on fire"

This Saturday, at Lady Willingdon College, the sky will transform into an arena of high-energy action with Aruna and the Raging Sun, a performance led by differently-abled actors

Feb 21, 2018

The Hindu - "A sky full of stars"

The play, which has a differently-abled hero as the saviour of humanity, is scripted by Venkataraman Balakrishnan, artistic director of Chennai-based Theatre Nisha, and directed by Amit Sharma, associate artistic director of Graeae Theatre Company.

Jan 12, 2018

Rasa Aur Drama Theatre - Directing 'The Pregnant King'"

Rasa Aur Drama catch up with the director. 

Mar 12, 2018

Three novel ways in which Chennai is changing the discourse on water

The objective of the projects organized by the Institut was to harness the power of art and culture in creating a dialogue on water. The organizers felt that the long-lasting impact an artistic reflection on the issue could create would go much further in arousing and engaging residents, than closed-door lectures or policy discussions would.

Dec 2, 2017

Not a Drop To Drink: A play for young audiences wades into the issue

The idea of the story originated from the myth of Ganga, who is brought to earth to redeem lost souls. A question arose in my mind — what if Ganga decides to return to the heavens seeing the complete apathy humans have for nature conservation? That was the seed of the origin of the play.

Oct 13, 2017

The New Indian Express - "Passion at play: Avant-garde theatre in Chennai"

When we ask V Balakrishnan aka Bala about non-commercial theatre, he is quick to correct us, saying, 
“I have never seen my theatre as non-commercial. Yes, I have refused to cater to the least common denominator, or to put up anything on stage I do not organically believe in, but I have at the same time never tried to be abstruse.” 

Feb 15, 2017

The Hindu - "One man, many roles"

At a time when literary and theatrical works reinterpret epics to connect to contemporary audiences, to stick to an original verse written in 1952 and present it without any adulteration requires courage. And, Theatre Nisha deserves a packed audience just for that.

Febr 13, 2017

The Hindu - "A man on the fringes"

“Rashmirathi is also a work on compassion, sacrifice and love for one’s motherland,” says Balakrishnan, who has been staging this play since 2010.

Feb 09, 2017

The Dreamscape Studio Blog - "Venkataraman Balakrishnan – The Artistic Director"

Q: What/who inspired you to take up this field?

 

A: Shyam Benegal’s Discovery of India, Amar Chitra Katha, Peter Brook's Mahabharata"

Feb 06, 2017

The Hindu MetroPlus - "Fitness for the dramatic soul"

“If I do not work out, I feel grumpy and sleepy. It is like not being awake and soon I am on a slump.” 

Feb 05, 2017

The Times of India - "The Art of the Crossover"

"An actor's repertoire should consist of not merely the ability speak lines, but also their understanding of music, movement and dance through the body. This is done using breathing techniques, yoga and martial arts," says Balakrishnan.

Jan 31, 2017

The Hindu MetroPlus - "Speaking with your body"

“There is a voice in your head that constantly warns you to not make a fool of yourself. Do not listen to that,” she tells us, as she asks us to move to the music.

Jan 30, 2017

The Hindu MetroPlus - "A cut through the heart"

"... Meera Sitaraman’s script has the potential to distil the emotional core of a seemingly-alien subject and make it relatable. And, that is an indication that a play has worked through the audience’s hearts and minds."

Jan 13, 2017

The Hindu - "The reading room"

Bows and arrows and stacks of scripts share space with classics, mythology, historical accounts, Sanskrit plays, and books on martial arts at the library of Theatre Nisha’s director. 

Apr 23, 2016

Deccan Chronicle - "In the company of Shakespeare"

Shakespeare enthusiasts theatre groups, are commemorating the Bard of Avon’s quadricentennial death anniversary, today.

Apr 22, 2016

The New Indian Express - "Party Bard"

Director V Balakrishnan feels the best way to celebrate a good writer is with other good writing. "Shakespeare is an idol and we wanted to celebrate his death anniversary with good Indian writing."

Apr 07, 2016

The Hindu MetroPlus - "An act of freedom"

"I have to tried to make sure Laxmi Bai comes as across as a human being, and not a superhero."

Apr 06, 2016

The Deccan Herald - "An honest approach to scripts"

“I particularly wanted to tell the story of Lakshmibai to dispel the myths that revolve around her. I feel that she has been too glorified and misrepresented.”

Apr 02, 2016

The Times of India (Bengaluru) - "Retelling the Queen's fight"

“The most important aspect of portraying Rani Lakshmi Bai is depicting the sheer physicality of the character. I had to develop the strength to hold a stance and to wield a sword. I trained with a martial arts expert. The physical routine was rigorous. But the fight sequences, especially those towards the end of the play, are worth all the training. And as we prepared and rehearsed, the play unfolded organically."

Mar 25, 2016

The Hindu MetroPlus - "All of Chennai is a stage"

“Well, we’d paid for the auditorium and the actors were ready, so we performed. It was a good show.”

Mar 24, 2016

The Hindu MetroPlus - "A Queen's Story"

“We start the play with the Doctrine of Lapse being imposed on her kingdom. There’s a very famous line in history, where she is supposed to have said, ‘Meri Jhansi nahi dungi’ (I will not part with my Jhansi). For a woman of her stature, who had never been bold, to have said something like that, sets the tone for the next two years of her life.”

Mar 18, 2016

Indulge, The New Indian Express - "Fierce Factor"

“We wanted to do something that, while catering to our belief in storytelling, also affords dramatic conflict. So Meera (as Laxmibai) sings, dances, narrates and even does sword play”

Dec 31, 2015

The Hindu MetroPlus - "On the wings of hope"

"I see the next 365 days like the last 365 and a million 365s before it; changes will occur if I endeavour to make it happen, otherwise it will all be the same."

Jun 26, 2015

The Hindu MetroPlus - "Performance in the moment"

"I tell actors you can never become a character. You can’t get into the skin of the character. But you can create an illusion of a character. Like any craft, the craft of acting has to be practiced.”

Mar 25, 2015

The Hindu MetroPlus - "Staging life on his own terms"

"I want theatre to create a feeling of communion, the way you connect with one another in a place of worship. Most importantly, I want to create work that stays with you for the rest of your lives; that will be with me for the rest of my life.” 

Aug 05, 2014

Youth ki Awaaz - "Meet Bala, The Artist Who Brought Mature, Intelligible And Responsible Theatre To Chennai"

"We approached a sponsor to bring down Mallika Sarabhai for a show in Chennai. Within five minutes of our conversation they were in complete agreement of our proposal and asked us when Ms. Mallika Sherawat is arriving in town. Ridiculous" 

Aug 3, 2014

The New Sunday Express - "Movers at the centre stage"

"NSD taught me how to value the written word..."

Mar 26, 2014

The Hindu MetroPlus - "The show goes on"

"By ascending the stage we reject hypocrisy, pretence and lies."

Sep 10, 2012

The New Indian Express - "He watched only 3 films in college!"

"Acting and theatre were always present in my life. I was also the president of the economic society in college."

Mar 3, 2012

The Hindu MetroPlus- "Scene by scene"

“I was working as an apprentice actor, and I got smitten by the stage. By the end of that year, I dumped my Civil Service dreams.”

Mar 26, 2009

The New Indian Express - "To the silver screen and back"

"My basic vocation is theatre. As for my choice I have already chosen theatre."