Drama School Mumbai: Forging a New Generation of Theatre Makers
Drama School Mumbai | The Knowledge Review
Drama School Mumbai is housed within the Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh, an old theatre in south Mumbai. It is based in 1500 sq.ft hall, for students to work

To be a globally recognized institute impacting change around the world through our alumni. 

Drama School Mumbai is housed within the Mumbai Marathi Sahitya Sangh, an old theatre in south Mumbai. The school is primarily based in a 1500 square foot hall (Purandare Hall), which has ample space for the students to work. Purandare Hall also has a small raised stage and the entire hall converts to a black box theatre. At the back of the stage is a storage/backstage area. The costume, property and tech department are housed here along with the student library and other materials for use in classes, including musical instruments. The bigger part of the library is accessible to the students on the third floor in the executive office of the school. On the ground floor of the MMSS, there is an 800 seater auditorium. Students are given access to this space for occasional voice classes and for shows of their annual student production.

An Ingenious Showstopper

Jehan Manekshaw is the Co-Founder and Head of School at the Drama School Mumbai. He holds an MFA in Theatre Direction from Birkbeck College, University of London, an MA in Global Media and Transnational Communications from Goldsmiths College, University of London and a BA in Theatre and International Relations from Wesleyan University, USA.

Along with DSM, Jehan co-founded Theatre Professionals, an organisation that works to bring in drama to the fabric of primary and secondary education within schools. For his work with the two organisations, Jehan has been awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Ustad Bismillah Khan yuva puraskar for advancement of the practice of theatre in India.

Bestowing the Students with the Ultimate Course and Expertise 

The flagship programme of Drama School Mumbai is the Post Graduate Course in Acting and Theatre Making. This is a one year, intensive and rigorous programme that gives students a strong foundation to their craft as a performer and a theatre maker. The course is broadly divided into two terms, which encompasses training the budding actors, theatre makers, and entrepreneurs.  It focuses on various aspects of drama, different styles of theatre, research and application modules. Also it teaches the basics of set, sound, costume and light design and work on the Producing and Entrepreneurship module. At the end of their school year, students are required to do an internship with a theatre company and submit a report in order to fulfill all course criteria and duly graduate.

Along with the Post Graduate Course in Acting and Theatre Making, DSM offers the following programmes:

  • Beginner workshops in Acting
  • Advanced intensive workshops for theatre practitioners
  • Conversations@DSM – An initiative where the school invites a renowned theatre veteran to be in conversation with a younger generation practitioner. The event is free and open to all and is documented for use in the future.

The Three Pillars of the Post-Graduate Programme:   

Training at Drama School Mumbai is based on three pillars:

Acting/Performing – Training as a performer gives students a base to foray into any avenue within the theatre arts. Students are trained in modules for body and voice conditioning, movement, text work, scene study, improvisation, devising and research.

Theatre Making – The school trains students to become proficient in making their own work. It is a matter of pride for the institute that the 96% of the alumni who have continued to work in theatre and allied forms, are well employed.

Entrepreneurship – Students are equipped with the basic principles of Producing and Entrepreneurship so that they can go on to create and produce their own work and make a living off their craft and training, in the field of theatre and its allied forms.

Popular Events of the Institute

Madhyantar – This is the students’ mid-year showcase. It is a culmination of the best theatre pieces created by the students during the first term of school and is the students’ first public showcase of the school year.

Annual Production – As part of the theatre-making training, the students work with a professional director and production team towards a full length play.

In the past, DSM has produced the following productions:

  • Tartuffe by Moliere directed by Daniel Goldman
  • The Curious Climb of Cutter Chee (based on Bertolt Brecht’s Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui) directed by Ben Samuels
  • The Dragon by Evgeny Schwartz directed by Tushar Pandey
  • Juliet Aur Uska Romeo (Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet) directed by Anirudhha Khutwad
  • The Mule’s Foal directed by Puja Sarup and Sheena Khalid
  • Maati (Based on Yerma by Federico García Lorca) directed by Mahesh Dattani
  • Rakt Kalyan written by Girish Karnad, directed by Sunil Shanbag

The plays premier at Drama School Mumbai and then go on a ten show run in across the country, concluding back in Mumbai again.

Aadyant – This is students’ end of year showcase. These are projects entirely led by the students as a culmination of their one year of learning at DSM. 

The Accomplished Alumnus

The school has many talented and accomplished alumni, who are creating milestones with their excellent work. To name a few – Archana Patel Nandi (Founder – Potli Studios), Mikhail Sen (Troupe member with the Royal Shakespeare Company, UK), Abhinav Grover (Yakshagana exponent, actor, director and writer), Srishti Srivastav (Actor, TVF-Girliyapa), Samridhi Dewan (Actor – (web series) Imperfect, Office) Niketan Sharma (Founder NOW Productions, Actor, Director, Writer), and Kaizad S. Gandhi (Artistic and Executive Director, Saadhana Sabhaghar – Ghaziabad).

The Route Ahead

Currently the school runs one course for one batch of 20 and it wishes to expand this programme for two batches by the year 2020. Also, it is planning to introduce a two year Masters level programme, allowing students more depth in their training. Furthermore, it wants to introduce specialist programmes in playwriting, design, and direction for smaller batches of students to build out particular craft sets.

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