National School of Drama

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National School of Drama
Established1959; 64 years ago (1959)
Parent institution
Sangeet Natak Akademi
ChairpersonParesh Rawal
DirectorRamesh Chandra Gaur
Location, ,
India Edit this at Wikidata

National School of Drama (NSD) is a theatre training institute situated at New Delhi, India. It is an autonomous organization under 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Akademi and became an independent school in 1975.[1] In 2005, it was granted deemed university status, but in 2011 it was revoked.[2] Paresh Rawal is the current Chairperson of National School of Drama (NSD).

National School of Drama in Mandi House


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 20 January 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.[3][4]

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.[5] 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.[4][6]

In 1975 it became an autonomous organization, under the erstwhile Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture, Department of Culture, with the name 'National School of Drama' and relocated in May 1975, to its present premises at Bahawalpur House, the residence of Bahawalpur a former princely state. However, the place is generally known by adjacent (now demolished) Mandi House, the former residence of Raja of erstwhile Mandi princely state.[4] In 1999, the school organized its first National Theatre Festival, 'Bharat Rang Mahotsav', generally held during the second week of January each year.

In 2008, the institution celebrated its golden jubilee at its annual theatre festival, Bharat Rang Mahotsav, with a gathering of its alumni from all over the country,[7] 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).[8] Waman Kendre was appointed as Director the school in 2013. He will serve a five-year term.[9] 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.[10] As of 10 September 2020 Paresh Rawal, has been appointed as the Chairman of the National School of Drama.[11]

Deemed university status[edit]

On 16 March 2005, the Government of India granted the NSD the status of deemed university.[12][13] 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.[14]

Performing Wings[edit]

Repertory Company[edit]

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. Its 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 performs new and past plays. In 2004, the repertory celebrated its 40th anniversary with a theatre festival in New Delhi.

Sanskaar Rang Toli[edit]

In 1989 NSD established the 'Theatre-in-Education Company' (T.I.E), called 'Sanskaar Rang Toli', which coaches children aged 8 to 16 years. The company regularly performs plays for school and adult audiences alike, and has its own yearly theatre festivals, 'Jashn-e-Bachpan' and Bal Sangam.[15]

Performing spaces[edit]

The school 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.

Regional centres[edit]

In a bid to decentralize its activities, NSD opened Regional Resource Centres (RRC) across India, the first of which was opened at Bengaluru in 1994.[4] A new centre was established in Varanasi.

Rang Mahotsav festival at NSD

Bharat Rang Mahotsav[edit]

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] The School also organizes a festival showcasing tribal traditions, the Adirang Mahotsav.[17][18]

Extension Program[edit]

  • Extension Programmes, through which NSD staff and alumni conduct workshops in various parts of the nation, were established in 1978 and have since conducted workshops and programmes for adults and children throughout the country, including some in Nepal, Sikkim, Ladakh, and Bhutan. Since its inception in 1980, the Traditional Theatrical Project has regularly allowed creative contact between traditional and contemporary theatre performers. Along with providing an introduction to theatre, these programmes aim to help participants develop their personalities and broaden their emotional horizons.

Extension Centers[edit]

Northeast Extension Programme[edit]

The National School of Drama's Extension Programme connects the school in Delhi to other regional theatres around the country. The school has been imparting training and creating plays with theatre practitioners all throughout the country through a series of well-planned theatrical workshops that take into account the individual demands of each location. These courses instruct those who cannot afford to spend three years at NSD and those who have been practising theatre for a long time.

The school also builds contact with a significant number of theatrical groups and organizations that are performing good work in the regions through collaborative projects through this programme.

NSD has recently arranged a series of theatre workshops in the Northeastern States as part of its Extension Programme. The workshops followed a three-step programme: the first was to pique all participants' interest in the complexities of the theatre experience - performance and transference; the second was to impart training in the area; and the third was to assist and guide them in preparing productions based on the received training. Once the productions were completed, participants were given the opportunity to present ten shows in various sections of the region in order to build self-confidence, a variety of experience, and audience engagement. Finally, the School decided to provide a forum to present these creations, which is how the Poorvottar Natya Samaroh was born.[citation needed]

The first Poorvottar Natya Samaroh took place in Guwahati in 2007, followed by the second in Gangtok, Sikkim, in 2008. The plays in the Poorvottar Natya Samaroh covered a wide range of topics, including romance, social issues such as caste and gender, exploitation in a feudal system, survival and hope in a conflict-torn societal milieu, philosophical ideas, and resistance.[citation needed]

This combination of theatre experiences will not only allow for the mixing of all those engaged, but the spectrum of representation and performance will also highlight varied styles of portrayal, each as valid as the other. The festival seeks to provide a space of meaningful interaction and involvement for all by emphasizing this oneness in the variety of human life and existence.[citation needed]


  • Some major Books and Journals of NSD:
  1. Theatre India
  2. Rang Prasang
  3. Raj Bhasha Munjusha (19th Edition)
  4. Raj Bhasha Munjusha (20th Edition)
  5. Rang Manch

Notable alumni[edit]

Several NSD alumni have gone on to achieve national recognition for their work on stage, television and film. The following is a partial listing as provided by the school's website. [19]

Name Year
Om Shivpuri 1963
Sai Paranjpye 1963
Om Puri 1973
Naseeruddin Shah 1973
Rohini Hattangadi 1974
Raj Babbar 1975
Bijay Mohanty 1975
Annu Kapoor 1976
Pankaj Kapur 1976
K. K. Raina 1976
Virendra Razdan 1977
Raghubir Yadav 1977
Govind Namdev 1977
Satish Kaushik 1978
Anupam Kher 1978
Anang Desai 1978
Alok Nath 1980
Neena Gupta 1980
Ratna Pathak 1981
Deepa Sahi 1981
Seema Biswas 1984
Irrfan Khan 1984
Piyush Mishra 1986
Suresh Sharma 1986
Mita Vashisht 1987
Tigmanshu Dhulia 1989
Rajesh Sharma 1990
Ashish Vidyarthi 1990
Ashutosh Rana 1994
Rajpal Yadav 1994
Kumud Mishra 1994
Atul Kulkarni 1995
Swanand Kirkire 1996
Nawazuddin Siddiqui 1999
Pankaj Tripathi 2004
Bhupendra Jadawat 2017
Indira Tiwari 2018

Directors of NSD[edit]

Chairpersons of NSD[20]

NSD has had eleven directors since its establishment in 1959:[22]

Director Took office Left office
Satu Sen 1959 1961
Ebrahim Alkazi 1962 1977
B. V. Karanth 1977 1982
B. M. Shah 1982 1984
Mohan Maharishi 1984 1986
Ratan Thiyam 1987 1988
Kirti Jain 1988 1995
Ram Gopal Bajaj 1995 Sept 2001
Devendra Raj Ankur 2001 3 July 2007
Anuradha Kapur July 2007 July 2013
Waman Kendre August 2013 26 September 2018
Suresh Sharma September 2018 March 2022
Ramesh Chandra Gaur 15 March 2022

Molestation allegation[edit]

In August 2018, a woman student alleged molestation[23] – that she was inappropriately touched by National School of Drama's guest professor Suresh Shetty during the entrance workshop.[24][25] The accused professor was a retired Academics Dean of NSD.[26][27]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "PMO wants deemed varsity tag for NSD, institute disagrees". 8 August 2016.
  3. ^ National School of Drama ..over the past 50 years The Tribune 15 March 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d NSD Genesis Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine NSD website
  5. ^ "Theatre is revelation (Interview)". The Hindu. 24 February 2008. Archived from the original on 2 March 2008.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ National School of Drama celebrates golden jubilee in style The Economic Times, 12 January 2008.
  8. ^ "The Graduates". The Indian Express. 28 December 2007. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "Marathi theatre veteran to head NSD". The Telegraph. 26 July 2013. Archived from the original on 27 July 2013. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Paresh Rawal appointed as chief of National School of Drama". Hindustan Times. 10 September 2020. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  12. ^ 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."
  13. ^ NSD declared deemed university Deccan Herald 16 March 2005.
  14. ^ "The Hindu : News / National : NSD loses deemed varsity status on own request". The Hindu. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  15. ^ "T.I.E."
  16. ^ "11th Bharat Rang Mahotsav to begin from Jan 7". The Financial Express. 5 January 2009.
  17. ^ "Celebrating tribal art and culture with 'Adi Rang Mahotsav'". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Rural India comes together at Adi Rang Mahotsav - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  19. ^ "National School of Drama - Alumni". National School of Drama. 6 July 2022. Retrieved 1 August 2022.
  20. ^ "Chairperson of the NSD". Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  21. ^ "Actor Paresh Rawal Appointed As Next Chairman Of National School Of Drama". Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  22. ^ Previous Directors Archived 27 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine National School of Drama, Official website.
  23. ^ "National School of Drama Student Alleges Molestation by Guest Teacher". News18. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  24. ^ "Girl alleges molestation by National School of Drama professor during test". The Indian Express. 5 August 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  25. ^ "Applicant says 65-year-old NSD teacher molested her during test". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  26. ^ "Woman Who Alleged Molestation Not Our Student: National School of Drama". Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  27. ^ "National School of Drama student alleges molestation by guest teacher". Hindustan Times. 4 August 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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[edit]