New Plays from India

Published on Tue 11 Sep 2012
The Royal Court Theatre announces a season of readings by Indian playwrights from 12-17 November in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, as part of the theatre's ongoing commitment to finding and developing international work



The Royal Court Theatre announces a season of readings by Indian playwrights from 12-17 November in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, as part of the theatre’s ongoing commitment to finding and developing international work.

Five Indian writers will have their plays performed as rehearsed readings at 5pm each day and an 11am performance on Saturday. All plays will be performed in English, with three of the plays translated from the original Hindi and Marathi into new translations. The week will conclude on Saturday with a panel discussion on new writing in contemporary India, chaired by the Royal Court’s Literary Manager Chris Campbell.

The Royal Court has worked with emerging playwrights in India for over ten years. This project, in collaboration with Rage Productions Mumbai, started in 2010 and challenged 12 writers from all over India to write a play asking urgent questions about their changing country.

British playwrights April De Angelis and Carl Miller and Royal Court Associate Director Elyse Dodgson worked closely with writers from all over India to develop their work and the final plays were all performed in their original language as part of the Writers Bloc Festival at the Prithvi Theatre in Mumbai in January 2012. A selection of the plays were then chosen to be performed as readings at the Royal Court.

Mon 12 Nov, 5pm
Pereira’s Bakery at 76 Chapel Road
by Ayeesha Menon
directed by Caroline Steinbeis

Residents of the close-knit Catholic community of Bandra, Mumbai, fight against shopping mall developers who want to demolish their homes. A story about ordinary people trying to preserve their heritage while the world around them is changing too fast.

Ayeesha Menon is originally from Mumbai but has recently moved to the UK. She has won Sony Radio Awards for best drama for her adaptations of Q & A and The Cairo Trilogy. Her other adaptations for Radio 4 include The Mumbai Chuzzlewits, My Name Is Red and Six Suspects. Her original feature film The White Elephant premiered in the UK at the London Indian Film Festival in 2011. She wrote Pereira’s Bakery at 76 Chapel Road as part of the Royal Court/Rage Theatre workshops in India from 2010-2011.

Tues 13 Nov, 5pm
The Djinns of Eidgah
by Abhishek Majumdar
directed by Richard Twyman

Ashrafi and Bilal are two children adrift in the shifting currents of Kashmir. The play, based on true stories, paints a tragic portrait of a generation and a landscape lost to conflict.

“one of the best plays of recent times.” The Mumbai Theatre Guide

Abhiskek Majumdar is a Bengali playwright and director who grew up in Delhi and now lives in Bangalore. He is the artistic director of the Indian Ensemble and a winner of the Metro Plus Playwriting award for his play Harlesden High Street which has been published by Penguin Books India. His other work includes An Arrangement of Shoes and Afterlife of Birds. He studied theatre at LISPA (London International School of Performance Arts) and attended the Royal Court International Residency in 2011 to continue his work on The Djinns Of Eidgah which was produced at the Writers Bloc Festival and in other parts of India in 2012, directed by Richard Twyman.

Wed 14 Nov, 5pm
Mahua by Akash Mohimen
translated from Hindi by Akash Mohimen
directed by TBC

Birsa is an aspiring tribal leader who finds his world turned upside down when a hunting expedition goes wrong. Set in the village of Bihaband in the state of Orissa, the play depicts a family pitted against a mining industry that has claimed their land and uprooted an entire culture.

Akash Mohimen is a young writer and filmmaker originally from Orissa, but now based in Mumbai. He has written four plays including two children’s plays: The Mighty Mirembayanna and The Prisoners of Peace and a musical Hattamala. He took part in the Royal Court/Rage workshops in 2010 and 2011. He wrote his fourth play Mahua at the workshop and it has been produced at Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai and in many parts of India as part of the Writers Bloc Festival produced by Rage Theatre in 2012. It is written in Hindi.

Fri 16 Nov, 5pm
Ok Tata Bye Bye
by Purva Naresh
translated from Hindi by Purva Naresh
directed by Lyndsey Turner

Two film makers from the UK set out to document the lives of rural Indian women who earn their money along the highway, delving into the unchartered territory of sex workers and truck drivers in a village where prostitution is legal.

Purva Naresh is originally from Lucknow. She studied film production at the Film and Television Institute of India. She is also a Kathak dancer and percussionist. Her short film Asfaneh: Bai Se Bioscope Tak has received a number of awards. She co-wrote and directed the musical play Preth which premiered at the NCPA Centrestage Festival and her short play Aabodana has performed widely as part of Rage Theatre’s One on One Season. She took part in the Royal Court/Rage Theatre 2010/2011 workshops for which she has written her latest play Ok Tata Bye Bye which was performed in Hindi at the Writers Bloc Festival in January 2012.

Sat 17 Nov, 11am
Leftovers (Shillak)
by Sagar Deshmukh
translated from Marathi by Irawati Karnik
directed by Simon Godwin

Pune is a city on the move, an engine powering the economic expansion of India; but what happens when development and innovation leaves ordinary people struggling to catch up. A play about a traditional Indian family, left behind by the modern world.

Sagar Deshmukh is a lawyer and a founder member of the Pune based theatre group Aasakta Kalamanch – as a writer, actor and technician. His other plays include Talyaat-Malyaat, Bed Ke Neeche Rehanewalee and Matra Ratra. As an actor he has performed in different national and international festivals. He wrote Shillak or Leftovers as part of the Royal Court/Rage Theatre workshop from 2010 -2011. It was performed in Marathi at the Writers Bloc Festival in 2012.

Sat 17 Nov, 12pm
Panel Discussion
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court
Tickets £5

The Challenges of Writing New Plays in Contemporary India

Join all of our Indian playwrights for a discussion on new writing in contemporary India, chaired by the Royal Court’s Literary Manager Chris Campbell. Continue the conversation with complimentary light Indian refreshments in the Royal Court Balcony Bar.

Tickets for all readings £8 (£6 concessions or if booked with another reading) available at or 0207 565 5000


For further information, please contact Anna Evans on 020 7565 5063

Notes to Editors

Listings Information

International Playwrights: A Genesis Foundation Project
New plays from India
developed in collaboration with Rage Productions
Mon 12, Tue 13, Wed 14, Fri 16 November 2012, 5pm
Sat 17 November 11am
Jerwood Theatre Upstairs Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Tickets £8 (£6 if booking for more than one reading)
Concessions £6
Access £6

Since 1996 the Royal Court Theatre has travelled the world, running long-term play development projects and building relationships between playwrights, directors, actors and translators. Working with playwrights and theatre artists in 70 countries and in 30 languages, the work is supported by the Genesis Foundation and the British Council.

International Playwrights Season: A Genesis Foundation Project
The Genesis Foundation supports the Royal Court’s International Playwrights Programme.

To find and develop the next generation of professional playwrights, the Genesis Foundation funds workshops in diverse countries as well as residencies at the Royal Court. The Foundation’s involvement extends to productions and rehearsed readings which helps the Royal Court to provide a springboard for young writers to greater public and critical attention. For more information, please visit

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Coutts is the UK private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Coutts has a long history of supporting the arts going back 200 years, having looked after the financial affairs of many famous clients connected with the arts such as Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens and Chopin. In 1816, Thomas Coutts married Harriot Mellon, a popular actress of her day, and together they became partners of a number of London Theatres, including the Drury Lane and the Royal Opera House. Coutts has even featured in a number of artistic works including The Gondoliers by Gilbert and Sullivan, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In the new millennium, this tradition has continued not only through managing the finances of many of today’s top writers, actors and musicians, but also through our arts sponsorship programme and we are delighted to support The Royal Court and its diverse range of ground-breaking performances.