Traditional Theatre Forms of India   (A Set of 2 Albums)

Traditional Theatre Forms of India (A Set of 2 Albums)

Product ID: 11494

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Author: A Compilation
Publisher: Centre for Cultural Resources and Training
Year: 2001
Language: multilingual
Pages: N/A
ISBN/UPC (if available): CCRT/CPL


Traditional theatre forms, incorporate not only the common man’s interests but there is also a classical element in them. This classical facet, however, takes on regional, local and folk colouring. This 2 volume picture album with explanatory texts features images of theatre techniques and kinds of musical instruments used during performances. .

Each set contains 24 pictures and a booklet. The first set provides information about the distinguishing features, origin, thematic content and theatre techniques of Bhand Pather, Swang, Nautanki, Raasleela, Bhavai, Jatra, Maach, Ankia Naat and Bhaona and that of the second set provides information about the unique features, theatre techniques and various kinds of musical instruments used during the performances of Tamaasha, Dashavatar, Krishnattam, Mudiyettu, Theyyam, Koodiyaattam, Yakshagaana and Mudiyettu, Theyyam, Koodiyaattam, Yakshagaana and Therukoothu.

In traditional theatre, age-old forms, customs and the desire to improvise are intermingled. In these theatre forms, there is no such thing as episodes. There is always continuity in its theme, structure and presentation. There is also scope for improvisation and incorporation of new references leading to subtle extension in the story line. There is direct and intimate communication between the actors and audience. Traditional theatre forms have a common distinguishing feature that is the element of simplicity.

Living traditions occupy a prominent place in the Indian social system. Any living tradition has a natural flow. There can be no doubt about the fact that traditional art forms reflect the ideals of the society, its determination to survive, its ethos, emotions, fellow-feelings, and so on. Drama in itself is a complete from of arts. It includes in its framework acting, dialogue, poetry, music, etc.

In community living, the art of singing has its won importance. In all the traditional theatre-forms, songs and the art of singing have an important role to play. Traditional music of the theatre is an expression of the feelings of the community. Traditionally the language of ordinary people has an element of creativity, though not based on classical or grammatical roots. This kind of creativity is spontaneous, emerging from the circumstances. When there is intensity of emotions, there is a natural kind of rhythm in the expressions. It is this natural rhythm from which emerges the traditional theatre-form. In this art from, sorrow, joy, frustration, hatred and love have their role and place.

The elements of acting in folk theatre take a natural tone. Normally, there is dynamism and flexibility in words and body language. These are used by the actors, with slight emphasis and subtle change.

Traditional theatre forms even after acquiring a distinctive style have an ample scope for improvisation, making it possible for assimilation of local traditions. When the hold of conventional rules and rituals grow strong, then local traditions form a kind of challenge, as they have a strength of their own against rigidity. The potential of local traditions to fight against rigidity makes the theatre form multi-dimensional. Traditional theatre forms reflect the thoughts of the common man.

In different regions of India, there are religious festivals, fairs, gatherings, ritual offerings, prayers, almost throughout the year. During these occasions, traditional theatre forms are presented. They reflect the common man’s social attitudes and perceptions. In this social portrayal, there is also the individual’s role which is give due importance.

It is possible, that those associated with the classical world of Sanskrit drama, went to the neighbouring regions after its decline and intermingled with the local theatre forms. This kind of synthesis, give-and-take must have taken place on various levels such as written, verbal, classical, contemporary, national and local.



The traditional theatre form of Swang, Nautanki, Bhagat, etc. are usually similar. There is often stylistic diversity, which strengthens their identity.

Bhand Pather