The National School of Drama (NSD) in the Capital is pushing several major initiatives to strengthen the present system of imparting theatre education and reaching out to more practitioners and theatre enthusiasts across the country.

Along with infrastructural development, the vision is to recruit highly trained faculty, increase the number of workshops and sessions by theatre veterans and introduce new courses and centers across the country.

The new structural push and design is under preparation after several rounds of meetings between Paresh Rawal, Chairman, NSD, Director In-charge, Registrar, faculty members and members of NSD society.

Speaking to the media, Rawal said that the status of ‘Institute of National Importance’ will further strengthen NSD by enabling it to award degrees, introduce new courses like playwriting, costume designing, property making etc, and also open up new centres. “We are talking to the Government of India to expedite the matter. Also, the proposal of re-development of the existing NSD campus is under consideration. The issue was brought to light in a meeting with Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri last week,” added Rawal.

He also said that a request had been received from the Lieutenant Governor of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha for opening a centre there. “This will soon be discussed with NSD society members and the government. Hopefully, we will have a concrete plan to do it soon. In fact, we are keen to set up centers in the states of Gujarat, West Bengal, and Maharashtra,” he said.

Currently, the NSD has regional centers in Varanasi, Bengaluru, Agartala and Gangtok.

The Chairman also laid emphasis on introducing new short-term courses on various aspects of theatre art.

There are also plans to digitalize the NSD archive. At present, thousands of in-house productions and plays are stored in old format. Once converted to digital, they will be used as study material for mass usage. The plans may include sharing of digital content with other major theatre education institutes worldwide.

Laying emphasis on introducing new short-term courses on various aspects of theatre art, Rawal said that there was a need to have National Repertory and Theatre in Education Companies across the country. “We appeal to the government to open four National Repertories and the same number of Theatre in Education Companies in the country on the occasion of the 75th year of Indian Independence. This will go a long way in developing quality theatre in the country. The aim of this step will be to craft out the young talent from the remotest parts of the country and preserve the regional theatre forms. We are also proposing to establish one National Repertory Co. at Kevadia which shall showcase quality theatre productions to the visitors at Statue of Unity.” he said.

On the occasion of India’s 75th year of Independence, the NSD is also planning to collaborate with various theatre directors in the country to produce 75 plays on the theme of freedom struggle and freedom fighters. “The details are being worked out in consultation with the Ministry of Culture. We are of the firm view that there are many illustrious works by Sahitya Akademi awardees which should be staged. NSD will take necessary steps in this direction in coming years,” said Rawal.