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National School of Drama


National School of Drama

राष्ट्रीय नाट्य विद्यालय
Stylized image of a mask surrounded by flames
Established 1959
Type Public
Chairman Ratan Thiyam (August 2013-present)
Director Waman Kendre (August 2013 -present)
National School of Drama is located in Delhi
National School of Drama (Delhi)
Campus Urban
Affiliations Sangeet Natak Akademi

National School of Drama (राष्ट्रीय नाट्य विद्यालय, or NSD) is a theatre training institute situated at 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Akademi, and became an independent school in 1975.[1] In 2005 it was granted deemed university status, but in 2011 it was revoked on the institute's request.


  • History 1
    • Deemed university status 1.1
  • Performing Wings 2
    • Repertory Company 2.1
    • Sanskaar Rang Toli 2.2
  • Regional Centres 3
  • Bharat Rang Mahotsav 4
  • Awards won by NSD Alumni 5
    • Padma Bhushan 5.1
    • Padma Shri 5.2
    • BAFTA Award 5.3
    • Kalidas Samman 5.4
    • Sangeet Natak Akademi Award 5.5
    • Chaman Lal Memorial Awards for excellence in theatre 5.6
    • Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema 5.7
  • Directors of NSD 6
  • Performing spaces 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • Further reading 10
  • External links 11


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 its present location, he also designed two theatres for NSD, including a 200-seat studio theatre, and the open-air Meghdoot theatre, under a banyan tree.[3][5]

In 1975 it became Bharat Rang Mahotsav, with a gathering of its alumni from all over the country,[6] 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).[7] Waman Kendre was appointed as Director the school in 2013. He will serve a five-year term.[8] He has done post-graduate with research in folk theatre of Kerala from NSD. He belongs to the nomadic Vanjara tribal community of Marathwada and was one of the leading lights of the Dalit theatre movement in Maharashtra in the late 1970s.[9]

Deemed university status

On 16 March 2005, the Government of India granted the NSD the status of deemed university.[10][11] However, 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." Thus, in October 2011 the status was revoked on request of NSD.[12]

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,Sagar Kamble, 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.[13] In 2004, the repertory celebrated its 40th anniversary with a theatre festival in New Delhi.[14]

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.[15]

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.[16]

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, Madhu.


Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Kalidas Samman

B.V. Karanth, Devendra Raj Ankur.

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award

B.V. Karanth, Shrijit Pillai, 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,Ashok Kumar Giri, Devendra Raj Ankur, Anuradha Kapur, Suresh Bhardwaj, H.V.Sharma, Ranjit Kapoor, V.K.Sharma,[18] Rohini Hattangadi.

Chaman Lal Memorial Awards for excellence in theatre

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

Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema

Award for Best Actress/Actor

Directors of NSD

NSD has had ten directors since its establishment in 1959:[19]

Performing spaces

The schools has three auditoria 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 0-231-14422-9. 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)".  
  5. ^ National School of Drama The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre: Asia/Pacific, by Don Rubin. Published by Taylor & Francis, 2001. ISBN 0-415-26087-6. Page 168.
  6. ^ National School of Drama celebrates golden jubilee in style The Economic Times, 12 January 2008.
  7. ^ "The Graduates". Indian Express. December 28, 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2010. 
  8. ^ "Government Appoints Prof. Waman Kendre as Director of National School of Drama" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 1 August 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Marathi theatre veteran to head NSD". The Telegraph. July 26, 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  10. ^ National School of Drama gets Deemed University StatusMinistry 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."
  11. ^ NSD declared deemed university Deccan Herald 16 March 2005.
  12. ^ "The Hindu : News / National : NSD loses deemed varsity status on own request". Retrieved 9 October 2011. 
  13. ^ Repertory
  14. ^ 40 Not Dut Indian Express 20 May 2004.
  15. ^ T.I.E.
  16. ^ "11th Bharat Rang Mahotsav to begin from Jan 7".  
  17. ^ NSD chairperson NSD website.
  18. ^ "SNA: List of Akademi Awardees".  .
  19. ^ Previous Directors National School of Drama, Official website.
  20. ^ Waman Kendre
  21. ^ प्रो.Mohammad Farooq होंगे एनएसडी के नए निदेशक
  22. ^ क्षेत्रीय नाट्य स्कूलों को बढ़ावे की जरूरत : नसीरूद्दीन

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

  • Official website of the NSD
  • Bharat Rang Mahotsav, Official website
  • NSD Alumni - Activities and Associations
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