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Activism through theatre

Mumbai City, Maharashtra

September 29, 2021


Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) is the oldest association of theatre-artists in India. IPTA was formed on 25 May 1943 at the National Conference held in Bombay in response to the need for theatre artists to become part of the Indian freedom struggle. Its primary goal was to bring cultural awakening among the people of India.

With the background of the Second World War and Bengal famine on the one hand, and repression by the colonial masters in the wake of the Quit India Movement, the idea of IPTA galvanized people. The objective of representing the crises of the time through the medium of theatre and to help people understand their rights and duties resonated deeply.

The nationalist movement was sensing that its objective was within reach. Artists who felt the need to be part of the political process and play a role in India’s independence movement, chose to use creativity to strengthen and popularise nationalism. IPTA gave formal shape to this sentiment, arguing in favour of the need for artists to stop limiting themselves to ‘art for art’s sake’.