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Championing equality of women: Actress and activist Sushma Deshpande at IAPAR Theatre Festival 2020!

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Image Source: The Hindu


Theatre director, writer, actor, and activist Sushma Despande would be taking a theatre masterclass called: THEATRE OF THE OPPRESSED at IAPAR International Theatre Festival, 2020 Edition!

Sushma Tai has been tirelessly championing the cause of women's equality and education. With a degree in journalism and a master's in Sociology. She loved theatre since her childhood; she tells

With more interest in community theatre, Sushma Tai has been committed to theatre for the last thirty years and more. Hailing from Baramati, she came to Pune to complete her studies. She excelled in the local theatre festival: Purushottam Karandak; and won the honor of the best actress. She received a lot of publicity in the newspapers. The well-known musical director Bhaskar Chandavarkar cast her in his film ATYACHAR. She did another film BEGAR with film and theatre director SAI PARANJAPE. It kind of pushed her into the professional world of the arts.

She read about an incident of sexual attack and rape in the news in Kothrud, Pune. It disturbed her a lot and she asked her teacher, what would SAVITRIBAI PHULE do? Answering her question, she realised, Savitribai Phule would tell people about their history and what they are doing today. This is how the play Haan, Mai Savitribai Phule was created. And Sushma Tai has been performing this piece for the last thirty years.

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In another theatre initiative, she did two plays with sex workers of Sangali. The play " My mother, Her Malak, The Gharwali, Her Malaak, His Wife' and " Hum Aur Tum Sab" was created . Sushma Tai says that women were interested in presenting their lives, and this is how she came to direct them.


Another of her play 'Bayaa, Daar Ughadis on the life of the women poets of Maharashtra from the 13th to 18th centuries. She found the thinking of the women saints progressive.

Video Source: India Theatre Guide Youtube


Another of her theatre production is 'Prakaran Pahile' which was based on an extramarital relationship. Prakaran Pahile is an exploration of a relationship between Eknath and Jija. Eknath is actually dead and the conversations roll between Jija and Ravi ( Eknath's son. )

She directed a play on the autobiography of the Dalit writer Urmila Pawar called Aaydaan. The play is conceived by playwright Ramu Ramanathan.

She performed her play Tichya Aaichee Gosht at Gyaan Adab Centre, Pune as one of the first Marathi play performances at the venue.

Some of the films she has starred in are: Umbartha ( directed by Jabbar Patel ), Bangarwadi ( directed by Amol Palekar) , Six Strands ( directed by Chaitanya Tamhane), Citizen ( directed by Amol Shetge) , Ajji ( directed by Devashish Makhija ), The Glorias ( directed by Julie Taymor .)

Image Source: Mumbai Theatre Guide


More details of the workshop are still being released by IAPAR International Theatre Festival.

The IAPAR International Theatre Festival takes place every year with plays from India and around the world; picked and invited by a team of excellent curators. Some notable shows that we attended at the festival are GHASI RAM KOTWAL by NSD repertoire, TAJ MAHAL KA TENDER, BALI by ADI SHAKTI, THE BALANCING ACT, MANDRAGORA CIRCUS from ARGENTINA, PARTY, GAZAB TERI ADA. Over the years we at RAD TIMES have enjoyed these performances. And the city is looking forward to this insightful masterclass by Sushma Tai.

Image Source: IAPAR Instagram preview section is your best, most complete guide for all the theatre/films , big and small, coming your way soon. Happy Reading! E-mail your listing to​!

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