When we speak of any major cultural event happening in Mumbai, NCPA is one venue that immediately comes to mind. It was way back in 1969, when the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) came into existence. South Asia’s first multi-venue multipurpose cultural centre, NCPA soon became every artiste’s favourite spot to perform.
NCPA was the brainchild of JRD Tata and Dr. Jamshed Bhabha who wished to create a world class platform to promote India’s rich heritage and culture through dance, music and drama. Made on land reclaimed from sea, it is home to five theatres, libraries, galleries, restaurants and reception spaces. Alongside promoting Indian talent, NCPA has collaborated with international theatre companies and arts organizations like Carnegie Hall, National Theatre (London), Edinburgh Festival and the Metropolitan Opera (New York).
Leading orchestras worldwide like London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Bavarian State Orchestra regularly perform at the NCPA. Through its extensive program of workshops, seminars and events for children and families, it pays significant attention to education and training in all genres.
Auditoriums and Spaces
NCPA boasts of five theatres catering to needs of different art forms and audiences. Godrej Dance Theatre is an intimate space made for entertaining a modest audience of 200 people. Jamshed Bhabha Theatre usually hosts large scale events like Orchestra performances or Operas. Experimental Theatre’s movable seats and unique ‘black box’ auditorium is the perfect platform for innovative theatre productions as well as small-scale dance and music performances. It also doubles up as a teaching and workshop space. Little Theatre, little by name, but certainly not by nature, plays a pivotal role in promoting and nurturing both new and fresh talent. Tata Theatre, the grandest of them all, seats more than 1000 people and functions as an iconic arena in the NCPA space.
Apart from the auditoriums, NCPA houses the Piramal Art Gallery where works of leading Indian and International photographers are regularly displayed. It promotes other forms of visual art as well. The gallery is spacious and modular in design, allowing for more than one exhibition at a time. The NCPA’s Centre for Photography as an Art-Form (CPA) operates from the gallery.
Symphony Orchestra of India
Our country’s first and only professional orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) was founded in 2006 by the NCPA chairman Khushroo N. Suntook. Since then the orchestra has performed at prestigious world stages with renowned conductors like Charles Dutoit and Karl Jenkins among many others. NCPA’s Special Music Training Programme is designed to give professional training to gifted young musicians.
Major events hosted by NCPA
NCPA hosts an annual theatre festival called Centrestage which premieres plays written by various theatre companies. Aadi-Anant is a month long music festival which brings forth performances by gurus-shishyas on stage. NCPA Cheer has featured the best comic plays and stand up acts by artistes such as Anu Menon, Anuvab Pal, Varun Grover and Rajneesh Kapoor. NCPA’s Contemporary Dance Season is a popular dance festival featuring performances by the best contemporary choreographers and dancers of our times. NCPA Mudra Dance Festival is a theme based festival featuring dancers from the Indian classical dance scene.
In its journey of almost 50 years, NCPA has earned its position as one of the most versatile and reputed venues for hosting multi-genre events and festivals. It has been vital to the spread of Indian heritage and culture through its performing arts.
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