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Updated: Jan 19, 2022

Nautanki is a brand that is trying to establish itself which is absent in Australian theatre and that is the representation of South Asian migrants in Australia using the aesthetics of the South Asian theatre.

Nautanki is a place for artists where they collaborate and perform stage plays, a nonprofit theatre organization that is based in NSW, Australia. In last 7 years, Nautanki Company has successfully presented six live theatre performances and kick-started annual South Asian Theatre Festival in 2016. Nautanki’s project involved more than 200 actors, performers, crew, and support staff.

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It not only performs plays but also teaches and trains in performing arts. Australia based theatre company mainly perform plays that are a cultural mix of two countries, India and Australia. These theatrical plays also shed light on social evils in India like domestic violence. These plays acts as a bridge between the two cultures and countries. They also performed a play on the critically acclaimed and well recognized book, The Jungle Book. One of their plays “Ten Years From Home” by Sonal Moore tells the story of why her parents first came to Australia and what made them stay. Looked at through the eyes of three generations of women, the play reveals the challenges faced by an Indian family living a long way from home and in a predominantly white Australia. It also shows the friendship that was extended to them until ten years later, Australia had also become home. The play centres on Sonal’s parents’ story while the stories of Sonal and her two daughters show the crossover of the Indian and Australian cultures. Sonal’s father is the common thread through the play.

The play spans 10 years and gives a snapshot into the change of both India and Australia in the 1960s which ultimately paved the way for the greater Asian migration in the early 1970s. Team RAD TIMES also conversed with the Neel Banerjee , CEO of Nautanki company so that he could elucidate more on his theatre company’s work.

Neel Banerjee , Creative Director and CEO of Nautanki company Image Courtesy: Youtube!

How did you ideate starting this company?

“I came to Australia for studying and on watching theatrical plays I learnt that the mainstream plays didn’t represent the lives of migrants that came to their homeland for example migrants from Afghanistan, Myanmar and other countries. So, this put me in thinking and actually pushed me owards this idea of creating an eco-system which basically provides a platform for the South Asian creatives to get together to exercise ideas, perform together and exchange ideas and tell their own stories, South Asian stories that validates the Australian experience” Neel Banerjee Creative Director of Nautanki Theare said.

What have you been currently up to in your dramatist career at Nautanki Theatre?

“We have been making plays that validates the South Asian experience but present it in a bilingual way, that’s what I am currently concentrating on. South Asian Theatre festival that we have been organizing also facilitates me to understand the diaspora of South Asian culture”.

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What was the impact of pandemic on the Nautanki company?

“Before the pandemic took over the world, we were preparing for the Jungle Book play, which is an adaptation of another play. We heard the news on the second day of rehearsal, and we had to stop everything, obviously for me, personally, you cannot experience a play online. In theatre when a person sits next to a stranger and all of them sits collectively without knowing each other and witness the play together, as an audience and I feel that is not possible online”. preview section is your best, most complete guide for all the theatre/films , big and small, coming your way soon. Happy Reading! Follow our channel here.


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