Barry John (theatre director)
Coventry, England, United Kingdom
|Occupation||theatre director, actor|
Barry John (born 1944) is a British born, Indian theatre director and teacher, who was the Founder-Director of 'Theatre Action Group' (TAG) (1973–99), one of the early theatre groups based in Delhi. In 1997, he launched Imago Media Company, along with Sanjay Sujitabh, and also started Imago Acting School in Delhi, both of which moved to Mumbai in March 2007. The school also got him recognition, as some of the alumni went on to become Bollywood actors, including Shahrukh Khan, Manoj Bajpai, Samir Soni and Shiney Ahuja, as well as Hollywood stars like Freida Pinto. He has been based in India since 1969. After shifting to Mumbai his acting school was opened in Mumbai as 'The Barry John Acting Studio', situated in Andheri.
Early life and education
Barry John was born in 1944, in the industrial city of Coventry of West Midlands county, England. His father, an engineer by profession, joined the navy during the world War II and his mother was a home-maker, and his younger sister was Christine.
By the age of 12, he had started selling newspapers, and pursued theatre in the evenings. At 15, his father fixed up a job for him at the factory where he worked. After finishing his schooling, he moved to London, but unable to find place in acting schools, he joined Leeds University at Leeds, West Yorkshire. There he trained to become a theatre teacher, for three years under John Hutchson, the head of department.
Deeply influenced by India, and its culture, during the Hippie era, he even delved into the Upanishads. Then in 1968, Pandit Ravi Shankar staged a concert at the Coventry Cathedral, a few days later, he saw an ad in the newspapers for a teaching job in India, to which he applied. Thus at age of 22 he landed in Bangalore, where he stayed for the next two years, teaching English during the day at Regional Institute of English on Cunningham Road, and doing radio programmes. Evenings were for amateur theatre, with Bangalore Amateur Dramatics Society and the Bangalore Little Theatre. After arriving in Delhi in 1970, he joined the 'Yatrik' theatre group, staying at the YMCA hostel and working as a freelance teacher in schools and colleges.
In 1973, he founded the Theatre Action Group (TAG), with Siddharth Basu, Roshan Seth, Lilette Dubey, Mira Nair, Ravi Dubey, Manohar Singh, Khalid Tyabji, Pamela Rooks, Surekha Sikri and Pankaj Kapoor; the group performed various forms of till 1977, when he joined as a faculty of the National School of Drama, Delhi (1977–80), and later became the Founder-Director of the NSD’s Theatre in Education Company (TIE)(1989–92). He has been theatre workshops ever since and in 1997, opened the 'Imago Acting School' in Delhi.
He also appeared in a few films, like Satyajit Ray's Shatranj Ke Khilari (Chess Players) (1977), Richard Attenborough's, Gandhi (1982), Massey Sahib (1985). He also acted in several of his own productions, as well as that other director, including Roysten Abel's Othello a Play in Black and White. His recent film is Tere Bin Laden in which he is an American security general. 
In 2007, he shifted to Mumbai, where his acting school was opened as 'Barry John Acting Studio', in the same year, he also published a book "Playing for Real", published by Macmillan, a chronicle of 178 drama exercises for children, and co-authored by Rajan Chawla and Cathy Yogin, students of his Imago Theatre in Education Company,
- Mira Nair
- Siddhartha Basu
- Sanjay Sujitabh
- Manoj Bajpai
- Shahrukh Khan
- Shiney Ahuja
- Freida Pinto
- Dulquer Salmaan
- Mohit Sehgal
- Vinit Kumar
- Rana Daggubati
- Harshvardhan Rane
- Jacqueline Fernandez
- Varun Dhawan
- Arjun Kapoor
- Sushant Singh Rajput
- Mudit Nayar
- Richa Chadda
- Shivam Patil
- Yuvraj Sharma
- Shatranj Ke Khilari (Chess Players) (1977)
- Gandhi (1982)
- Massey Sahib (1985)
- Shaheed Udham Singh (2000)-Michael O'Dwyer
- Thanks Maa (2010)
- Tere Bin Laden (2010)
- The Great Indian Butterfly (2010)
- Chittagong (film) (2012)
- M Cream (2012)
- "Barry John". Retrieved 09-11-2010.
- 'Theatre is at an all-time low in Delhi' Hindustan Times, Mumbai, 9 April 2007.
- The guru of Shah Rukh The Times of India, TNN 22 April 2007.
- "Freida Pinto thanks mentor Barry John for success". Daily News & Analysis. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-02-23.
- The Barry John Acting Studio - Inauguration 6 April 2007.
- The drama of Barry John's life Divya Vasisht, The Times of India, 23 November 2002.
- Profile IMAGO.
- Star guru: Film stars such as Shah Rukh Khan have trained under him... The Hindu, 16 August 2006.
- Interview with Barry John mumbaitheatreguide.
- Barry John Acting School In Mumbai Bollywood Hungama.
- Barry John reveals past peeves and new hopes The Hindu, 24 September 2007.
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards - Theatre Direction Sangeet Natak Akademi Award Official listings.