National Centre for the Performing Arts (India)

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National Centre for the Performing Arts (India)
NCPA building, Nariman Point, Mumbai.JPG
General information
Type Arts, complex
Location Mumbai, India
Address National Centre for the Performing Arts, NCPA Marg & Dorabji Tata Road, Nariman Point, Mumbai -40001, India.
Construction started 1981
Completed 1985
Opening 1986
Height 46.28m
Design and construction
Main contractor Larsen & Toubro Limited

Inaugurated in 1969, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai, is India's premier cultural institution. The first multi-venue, multi-purpose cultural centre to be built in South Asia, it has been committed since its inception to preserving and promoting the country's rich and vibrant heritage of Indian and international music, dance, theatre, film, literature and photography as well as presenting new and innovative work in the field of the performing arts.

Playing host to over 600 performances annually, the NCPA has the distinction of being India's largest, most holistic performing arts centre. It also embodies Mumbai's 'soft power'. The NCPA was the brainchild of JRD Tata and Dr Jamshed Bhabha, two visionaries who saw India's need for an all-encompassing world-class performing arts centre. Built on land reclaimed from the sea, the NCPA today, is one of Mumbai's best-known landmarks.

Luminaries from various fields have contributed towards lending it the iconic status it now enjoys. With Satyajit Ray and Yehudi Menuhin as its earliest mentors, the NCPA has consistently been shaped by the best.

As India's role on the international stage expands, the NCPA has been investing in the country's cultural future by promoting a regular series of Indian arts with performances and workshops by leading artistes from around the country. The NCPA-curated festivals include Mudra Dance Festival, Bandish Festival of Legendary Indian Composers, Centrestage Theatre Festival, Nave Valan Marathi Film Festival, Summer Fiesta, Sama'a Sufi Music Festival, Arties Chamber Music Festival, Vasant Gujarati Theatre Festival, Ananda Hindi Theatre Festival, Contemporary Dance Season, Nakshatra Dance Festival and Pratibimb Marathi Theatre Festival. The NCPA also hosts international visiting groups such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and continues to collaborate with international arts organisations including the Southbank Centre, Carnegie Hall, National Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet, Edinburgh Festival and the Metropoloitan Opera in New York.

The NCPA is also the home of the Symphony Orchestra of India, which was established by NCPA in 2006.[1] In 2010 the Symphony Orchestra of India created history by performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Moscow at the prestigious 5th World Symphony Orchestra Festival - the first time an orchestra from India had performed there. In its 12th celebrity concert season in February 2012, the NCPA presented two operas back-to-back in the form of the classic pairing of Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci. The season was brought to a thrilling close with two performances of Carl Orff's powerful and elemental Carmina Burana. In its February 2013 Season, the SOI performed the Melody of Rhythm with Zakir Hussain, Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyers. Since inception the SOI has given 14 delightful Seasons of music.

Principal aims and objectives[edit]

Members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra rehearse at the Jamshed Bhabha theater, NCPA before their performance
  • To establish a national centre for the preservation and promotion of classical, traditional and contemporary performing and visual arts.
  • To establish, equip and maintain schools, auditoria, libraries, archives, museums, studios, workshops and other facilities necessary to fulfil the above objectives.
  • To disseminate knowledge, promote appreciation, provide training and sponsor or undertake scientific research in these fields with the objective of further development by encouragement of innovation within India and by interaction with the arts of other countries.


Tata theater foyer

The NCPA complex occupies an area of about 32,000 square metres (340,000 sq ft) at Nariman Point, on land reclaimed from the sea.

It has 5 theatres in its premise, each catering to a unique genre of performing arts

Jamshed Bhabha Theatre,From large format orchestras to full-scale operas, the most technically complex performances can be staged at this Proscenium theatre with a seating capacity of 1,109. Named after our founder, and operational since 1999, its technical facilities allow for international productions of opera, ballet and major musicals.

This well-equipped, elegant theatre also boasts of a historic marble staircase and a dazzling double-level foyer. It is, undoubtedly, the cornerstone for theatrical extravaganzas staged in South Asia.

Tata Theatre, This distinctive space that can seat 1,010 is the best of both worlds. It effortlessly combines the intimate ambience of a small-scale venue with the splendour of a full scale arena. A revolving stage, brilliant acoustics and a foyer with a breathtaking view of the sea are just some of the things that make the Tata Theatre the venue of choice for both, performers and audiences.Created by the renowned American Modernist architect Philip Johnson and the legendary acoustician Cyril Harris, this theatre opened in 1982. Today, it is Mumbai's preferred venue for Indian classical concerts, Western chamber music and theatre.

Experimental Theatre, As flexible as its name, this theatre opened in 1986 and has 300 movable seats which allow it to be configured to suit a range of events. Its unique 'black box' auditorium is the perfect platform for innovative theatre productions as well as small-scale dance and music performances. It also doubles up as a teaching and workshop space.

Other facilities[edit]

  • Piramal Art Gallery
  • Reading and listening libraries
  • Studio for archival documentation of dance, drama and music
  • Teaching and research block
  • Computerised music research laboratory
  • Audio-visual archival vault with over 4,000 hours of recording and theatre research material, and a computerised databank for easy retrieval


Throughout the years NCPA hosted many performances including classical, traditional and contemporary performing arts in dance, theater, and music. Notable Indian performers who performed at NCPA include Vilayat Khan, M. S. Subbulakshmi, Birju Maharaj, Kelucharan Mohapatra, Mani Madhava Chakyar, Shakuntala, Smita Patil, Parveen Sultana and Shabana Azmi.[2]

NCPA has also attracted many international performers including Yehudi Menuhin, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Navoi Bolshoi Ballet of Uzbekistan,[3] Marcel Marceau, Barber of Seville opera, production of Jane Eyre,[2] and other British Council commissioned theater productions.[4] In 2006, New Jersey Ballet staged India's first full-length classical ballet with its Nutcracker production.[5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Symphony Orchestra of India". NCPA Mumbai. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  2. ^ a b Performances at the NCPA – accessed 29 March 2009
  3. ^ The Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra - Navoi Bolshoi Ballet (Uzbekistan) – accessed 29 March 2009
  4. ^ A Midsummer Night's Dream – accessed 29 March 2009
  5. ^ New Jersey Ballet presents Tchaikovsky program. New Jersey Herald. - accessed on 28 March 2009
  6. ^ Birajdar, Laxmi. Western classical music fans in for a treat. Pune Newsline. 12 September 2006 - accessed on 29 March 2009

External links[edit]