Arts & Culture Lite Blogs Theatre

When Shakespeare became a Malayalee in Muscat

There is a strong old belief that art and culture do not have any boundaries. This proved very much true in Muscat. Although the 150-minute play was in Malayalam language, the audience in the 750-capacity auditorium watched the live performances with much awe in full attendance, and without any break…writes Vinod Raghavan

How often does one find William Shakespeare speaking in Malayalam? But this happened in Muscat last weekend!

After eight months of non-stop efforts in putting together from scratch, the performance of Ithihasam – A Journey to William Shakespeare, was a fitting tribute to the play’s director, Rajesh Balakrishnan. He had put all his dreams and hard work into getting the best from his 40-member team of artists before a jam-packed auditorium of Oman Film Society at Airport Heights, Muscat on November 3 and 4, 2023.

Balakrishnan had a strong belief in himself to bring out the best in those hitherto unknown faces, who came together from different walks of life to perform together and put life into the characters that they played. Entire Oman, it appeared, was patiently waiting to see them perform in a play that was about the great dramatist of the 15th century, William Shakespeare.

The play was in Malayalam, but language was not a deterrent to the theatre lovers of Oman. Many in the audience hailed from different parts of the world – from Oman, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and many from the West Asian countries besides the different states of India. They all equally enjoyed the performances of the actors.

There is a strong old belief that art and culture do not have any boundaries. This proved very much true in Muscat. Although the 150-minute play was in Malayalam language, the audience in the 750-capacity auditorium watched the live performances with much awe in full attendance, and without any break.

Even the VVIP guests including Nepal Ambassador Dornath Aryal who was accompanied by his wife, Sri Lankan Ambassador Ahamed Lebbe Sabarulla Khan, and Reena Jain, First Secretary, Embassy of India in Oman, watched the entire drama along with the top officials of the Oman Film Society, as well as  Al Sheikh Syed Fayyaz Ali Shah, Chairman of Syed Fayyaz Group of Companies and Aftab Patel of Al Omaniya Financial Services.

Among those who attended the show was also Omani Actress Habiba Al Salti.

The main role of William Shakespeare was played by the versatile actor Biju Vargheese and his wife Anna’s role was portrayed by Dhanya Manoj,  a teacher in Muscat.

The play was produced by Dr. J. Retnakumar’s Bhavalaya Art and Culture Foundation in collaboration with International Organisation Creative LLC.

Dr Retnakumar, who had earlier played the role of ‘King Lear’ in a short film made by Oman’s known short filmmaker Anirban Ray, said, “The inspiration to bring Shakespearean theatre to Oman was born from a deep desire to infuse our culture with the timeless brilliance of the bard. It was a journey marked by relentless struggle, assembling a big cast and crew dedicated to bringing the play to the land of the Sultanate of Oman.

“We faced the monumental task of recreating the old English world on stage, and we were fortunate to have special stage craft experts such as Sugathan Master, who joined us from India,” Dr.Retnakumar said.

A real feel of Shakespeare’s village and his house in Stratford was created by veteran Sujathan Master, who was camping in Muscat for over a month and was minutely working with the script details with the Director and his assistants.

The director of the play Balakrishnan, a down-to-earth man, has many credentials in the field of art and culture. Untouched by the glamour of theatre, he was seen at a Ruwi restaurant after the show, having traditional Kerala food along with Sugathan Master and the scriptwriter Ashok Shashi. @C Global Bihari –

ALSO READ-Theatre Needs More Support, Corporate Backing Lacking

Lite Blogs London News Theatre

NCPA Theatre Division Presents Fleabag: A London Live Theatre Experience

It’s an exciting time as the spotlight is now shining in its full glory with artists on stage. The NCPA theatre division creates, presents, and hosts world-class theatre that entertains, challenges, and inspires. And the stage is abuzz with a fantastic line-up of presentations.

Fleabag I An NCPA-National Theatre Live (London) Presentation

Fleabag is a rip-roaring look at a woman living her sort of life. Fleabag may seem oversexed, emotionally unfiltered, and self-obsessed, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. With family and friendships under strain and a guinea pig café struggling to keep afloat, Fleabag suddenly finds that she has nothing to lose. 

Director: Vicky Jones

Written & performed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

What: Theatre Screening 

Duration: 100 mins (Approx.)

Where: Godrej Dance Theatre

When: Monday, 6 November- 6.00 pm; Monday, 20 November- 6.00 pm 

Age Suitability: 15+Tickets: BookMyShow

Kahaaniya ShowcaseI An NCPA Off-Stage Presentation in collaboration with Tape A Tale

Without stories, our lives would be a series of routine events that just went by. Stories make our otherwise mundane lives exciting and magical. Come join us for Tape A Tale’s signature storytelling show, Kahaaniya Showcase, which features some of the finest storytellers who are masters of the craft. The evening will entail a wide variety of storytelling forms on a single stage with a line-up you won’t want to miss. Our storytellers will share their personal stories that will touch your heart. Since its inception, Tape A Tale has done over 200 such shows across India and the Kahaaniya Showcase is our biggest celebration of the craft of storytelling. Tape A Tale is India’s largest storytelling platform with a following of 2.5 million. 

Performers: Ruchika Lohiya, Kopal Khanna, Vanika Sangtani and others  

Where: Experimental Theatre  

When: Saturday, 18 November– 7:30 pm

Language: English/ Hindi 

Duration: 100 mins

Age Suitability: 16+ 

Tickets: BookMyShow 

Big Show – All-Star Stand-up ComedyI An NCPA Off-Stage Presentation in collaboration withThe Habitat

Spend Saturday evening with the best in Standup Comedy, performing freshly baked material at The BIG Show: ALL STAR STANDUP COMEDY – The Habitat’s premier show which takes club comedy to a larger stage near you. 
This edition will have a BIG line-up consisting of Samay Raina, Raja Sekhar Mamidanna, Vaibhav Sethia, Shamik Chakrabarti, Sumit Sourav, Aman Jotwani, Mohd Hussain and Piyush Sharma.

Where: Experimental  Theatre  

When: Saturday, 25 November -  5 p.m. & 7.30 pm  

Language: English/ Hindi 

Duration: 105 mins 

Tickets: BookMyShow

Age Suitability: 16+

OMG 2 I The Indian Express Film Club screening in association with NCPA & Viacom18

“OMG 2” is a satirical comedy-drama film that tells the story of Kanti Sharan Mudgal, a devoted family man and Lord Shiva devotee. When his son, Vivek, is wrongly accused and expelled from school, Kanti embarks on a quest for justice, initially planning to leave town with his family. However, a divine intervention redirects him towards the truth, leading to a dramatic courtroom battle as Kanti seeks to hold those responsible accountable and enforce comprehensive education in schools.

Director: Amit Rai  

Producer: Vipul D. Shah, Aruna Bhatia, Ashwin Varde, Rajesh Behl, Swaroop Sampat, Ajit Andhare, Jyoti Deshpande & Hemal Thakkar  

Cast:  Akshay Kumar, Yami Gautam, Pankaj Tripathi, Arun Govil, Rofique Khan, Govind Namdev, Vedika Nanwani, Aarush Varma, Yash Bhojwani, Nishant Taliyan, Pavan Malhotra, Fahim Fazli, Parth Siddhpura, Aamir Naik, Brijendra Kala, Kabir Sadanand, Hemant Choudhary, Shreedhar Dubey, Rajiv Kachroo, Karan Aanand, & Naveen Singh.  

The film screening will be followed by a discussion with Shubhra Gupta, Film Critic, The Indian Express.

What: Comedy-drama

Where: Godrej Dance Theatre

When: Tuesday, 28th November – 6.30 pm

Language: Hindi Film with English Subtitles 

Duration: 150 min

Entry: on a first-come-first-served basis.

Reality Check I An NCPA Presentation in collaboration with Cinema Collective   

NCPA has revived the Reality Check film series, which was started in 2014, to promote and encourage documentary filmmakers in India, whose work reflects life and culture in the country today in a provocative blend of creativity and integrity.

What: Documentary Film Screening  

Where: Little Theatre

When: Thursday, 30th November – 6.30 pm

Entry:  on a first-come-first-served basis.

Bhuri Gatha I Hindi Film 

Bhuri Bai is a famous Bhil Painter from Bhil tribe of Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh. This biographical sketch explores the Bhil tradition and emergence of Bhuri Bai on the contemporary art scene and showcases her journey to become pioneer of Bhil painting tradition. The film also explores her struggles and persona as an artist who later got acclaim and recognition with highest civilian honour Padma Shri that inspires the whole generation in her time. 

Producer: Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum   

Direction, Cinematography: Rajendra Janglay  

Screenplay, Narration and Associate Director: Sudeep Sohni  

Sound: Mrinalini Tewari 

Sound Design: Rajat Diwan  

Duration: 28 min 15 sec

Bhajju Chitra Lok I Hindi Film 

Bhajju Singh Shyam is one of the most important Gond painters in the contemporary modern art scenario of the world. He is among the few artists who combine tradition and modernity in the paintings. The biographical film explores his journey of becoming a celebrated painter in the tradition of Jangarh Singh Shaym that not only places him as a fine artist but also a disciple who carry forward a legacy to generation while getting all the accomplishments and recognition during his journey from a small village to the world.

Producer: Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum   

Direction, Cinematography: Rajendra Janglay  

Screenplay, Narration and Associate Director: Sudeep Sohni  

Sound: Mrinalini Tewari 

Sound Design: Rajat Diwan  

Duration: 28 min 10 sec

Mandal Ke Bol I Hindi Film 

The film offers a keen look at one of the most primitive tribes of India, the Baiga known for their tattoos and primal ways of life. Baigas have succeeded in retaining their cultural identity in spite of the changing social milieu. The film is a visual narrative of the culture, beliefs and lifestyle of this intriguing ancient tribal community.

Producer: Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum   

Direction, Cinematography: Rajendra Janglay  

Assistant Director: Nishant  

Screenplay, Narration: Udeyen Vajpai  

Sound: Hari Kumar M  

The film screenings will be followed by a post-film discussion. 

Duration: 29 min

Short Film Corner  

An NCPA Presentation in collaboration with White Wall Screenings

What: Short Film Screenings   

Where: Little Theatre  

Where: Wednesday, 22nd November– 6:30 pm

Entry: on a first-come-first-served basis. 


Escort is the story of a blind social worker living and working in a small town and his relationship with his replacement escort – an unemployed young farmer trying to find a life of dignity while his father battles a rising debt.

The two find themselves dependent on the other for the fundamental aspect of their survival – dignity. But what happens when one’s dignity comes at the cost of another’s?

Directed by Asmit Pathare

Language: Hindi film with English Subtitles

Duration: 27 mins


A heartfelt story about Diya and Rehan, a couple embracing adoption. Diya defies stereotypes, forming her own views on adoption, while Rehan battles societal misconceptions. Through their conversation, they dismantle these biases and they welcome a new family member and complete their Home (Ghar).

Directed by Sreejone

Language: Hindi-English

Duration: 9 mins 47sec

Two Way Street
An ordinary taxi ride becomes a battleground when the Taxi Driver refuses to enter a particular lane. The passenger, in turn, decides to not alight the vehicle until he reaches his destination.

What ensues is a projection of an inherent bias of the taxi Driver against a particular community and the defiance of the Passenger to end up as a victim of discrimination. 

Directed by Asmit Pathare

Language: Hindi film with English Subtitles 

Duration: 22 mins

GOOD by C.P. Taylor I An NCPA-National Theatre Live (London) Presentation

David Tennant (Doctor Who) makes a much-anticipated return to the West End in a blistering reimagining of one of Britain’s most powerful, political plays.

As the world faces the Second World War, John Halder, a good, intelligent German professor, finds himself pulled into a movement with unthinkable consequences.

Olivier Award-winner Dominic Cooke (Follies) directs C.P. Taylor’s timely tale, with a cast that also features Elliot Levey (Coriolanus) and Sharon Small (The Bay). Filmed live at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London.For interviews & more details on the program – contact:

What: Theatre Screening

Where: Godrej Dance Theatre

When: Wednesday, 29 November – 6:00 pm

Duration: Approx. 160 mins

Age Suitability:  6+

Ticket: BookMyShow(Coming Soon)

ALSO READ-Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival To Kick Off From Oct 5

Events London News Theatre

Stellar Cast For ‘Passing’ World Premiere Announced

Following critically acclaimed productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Seven Dials Playhouse, Want the Moon Theatre will make its Park Theatre debut with their heartfelt and insightful family drama Passing. An exclusive preview by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian lite International.

In celebration of Diwali, Passing is a tender one-room comedy exploring Indian family heritage and the ideologies around self-acceptance through learning. Following the story of Rachel, a young mixed-race woman who feels detached from her identity and upbringing, Passing will shine a light on the biracial experience of today.

Known for her roles as Carmen in CBBC’S Tracey Beaker Returns, and Mimi in BBC’s Our Girl, Amy-Leigh Hickman (You, Netflix; East is East, National Theatre) will play Rachel Singh, who plans a Diwali party for her Indian grandfather after he falls ill, in an attempt to reignite his family’s culture and heritage. 

Amy-Leigh Hickman (Credit: Faye Thomas)

Passing presents a uniquely Hindu story on stage, showcasing the Hindu experience in the UK, which is underrepresented on stage. This world premiere explores the notion that cultural heritage can be lost through the generations, and the urgency to keep that heritage alive.

Joining Hickman on stage are soap stars Bhasker Patel (Emmerdale, ITV; Silence, Donmar Warehouse) and Catherine Cusack (Finding Neverland, Mirimax; Spring Awakening, Almeida Theatre). Alongside them are Jack Flammiger (COPS, Southwark Playhouse; Jury Duty Live, Theatre Deli) and recent graduate from Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Kishore Walker (The Boys Are Kissing, Theatre 503; Doctors, BBC One). With music, food, and even board games, Passing promises to push the Singh family to the limits, challenging the politely restrained appearance they are desperate to maintain around others.

Produced by Want the Moon Theatre, founders of the company Dan Sareen and Ellen Harris strive to develop and diversify traditional theatre audiences with their work. Their debut production Other People’s Teeth was performed at Brighton Fringe, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Playmill 18 at the King’s Head Theatre in 2018 after the company was formed since all meeting and graduating from Leeds University.

Director, Imy Wyatt Corner comments, I’m so thrilled to be working on a show which explores the joyous complexities of a multi-generational mixed white and Asian family like my own. Seeing this represented on stage in the style of a traditional family comedy drama is still quite rare and Passing feels like an important reclamation of a traditional form. Passing deals with difficult familial issues with Ayckbourn-esque comedy and I hope this production will really pull through the profound heart and love at its core.

Wednesday 1st – Saturday 25th November 2023 2 hours and 30 minutes, including interval

Park Theatre (Park90), 13 Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP

Dementia friendly performance on Thursday 16th November, 3:15pm

Park Theatre presents exceptional theatre in the heart of Finsbury Park, boasting two world- class performance spaces: Park200 for predominantly larger scale productions by established talent, and Park90, a flexible studio space, for emerging artists. In ten years, it has enjoyed eight West End transfers (including Rose starring Maureen Lipman, The Boys in the Band starring Mark Gatiss, Pressure starring David Haig and The Life I Lead starring Miles Jupp), two National Theatre transfers, 14 national tours, six Olivier Award nominations, has won multiple OffWestEnd Offie Awards and won a Theatre of the Year award from The Stage.

ALSO READ: Dorothy Circus Gallery London Proudly Presents Fatima Ronquillo ‘Amore: An Ode To Love’

Arts & Culture Lite Blogs Theatre

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan perform Lunar Halo at Sadler’s Wells

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan returns to Sadler’s Wells Theatre this autumn with the UK premiere of Lunar Halo, a collaboration with Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós, choreographed by the company’s Artistic Director Cheng Tsung-lung. The company, founded in 1973, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and these are the first UK performances since 13 Tongues/Dust in 2020. Preview Feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Cheng took over from company founder Lin Hwai-Min in 2020, and this is the 2nd time he has toured the company to Sadler’s Wells. As a child, he sold slippers on the streets of Taipei. His experiences of street life and folk and religious cultures have shaped his choreographic style, known for its vivid engagement with the richness and diversity of human experience. 

Cheng first observed a lunar halo – a sparkling ring around the moon – in the sky over Iceland. The phenomenon is said to predict an impending storm and, on a deeper level, forebodes a time of considerable change.

In Lunar Halo, Cheng explores the changes that are shaping the world, in particular our reliance on new technology. Performing to an other-worldly soundtrack by Sigur Rós, the dancers interact with each other – in pairs, groups, or as an ensemble in front of huge LED screens filled with moving shapes, colours, and images. The soundscape includes music taken from the band’s back catalogue, which has been twisted, bent, broken, and added to, specially for this performance. Sigur Rós released an LP to accompany the performance called 22° Lunar Halo.

Visual design and direction is by Jam Wu, lighting design is by Shen Po-hung, video design is by Ethan Wang, and costume design is by Chen Shao-yen.

A post-rock titan, Sigur Rós has been renowned for crafting ethereal soundscapes with melodic, classical, experimental, and minimalist elements and has received many accolades since its debut in 1994. Released in 1998, the band’s second album, ‘Ágætis Byrjun’ is still deemed “the last great album of the 20th Century.” by Q Magazine. They are well known for the iconic song ‘Hoppípolla’ (‘Jumping into Puddles’) which featured in the BBC’s Planet Earth and Planet Earth Two.

Cloud Gate Artistic Director Cheng Tsung-lung said, “Sadler’s Wells stage has a magical power that has always drawn me into the world of dance. Following the pandemic, I’m really looking forward to visiting London in our 50th anniversary year, and I hope that Lunar Halo shows the audience a different side to Cloud Gate.”

ALSO READ: The Bank: Multi-Brand Luxury Boutique

Lite Blogs Theatre

Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival To Kick Off From Oct 5

The festival is curated by Padma Shri recipient Mohammad Ali Baig as a tribute to his legendary father, theatre doyen Qadir Ali Baig…reports Asian Lite News

The 18th edition of the prestigious Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival is beginning here on October 5.

The five-day theatre festival will be held at iconic venues of Salar Jung Museum and Taramati Baradari.

This year’s plays feature writing by Ismat Chughtai, German playwright Sibylle Berg and others and themes such as human relationships, the history of dissent, a chapter from the Ramayana, greed and the love for acting.

Artistes who will be seen in action include Anjan Srivastav, Masood Akhtar, Mita Vashisht, Sunil Shanbag, Ayesha Raza, Anubha Fatehpuria, Dr. Dalavai Kullayappa and more from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Anantapur.

According to the organisers, genres are diverse, spanning traditional puppet theatre, adaptations, biography, poetry, dance and satire. The festival will also feature free master classes by Mohammad Ali Baig, Anjan Srivastav and Sunil Shanbag on topics such as theatre management, the Indian method of acting and how life informs art.

The festival is curated by Padma Shri recipient Mohammad Ali Baig as a tribute to his legendary father, theatre doyen Qadir Ali Baig.

The Festival is being presented in association with Telangana Tourism, Salar Jung Museum, Goethe-Zentrum Hyderabad and is headlined by the Aparna Group.

According to Mohammad Ali Baig, over the past 18 years, Hyderabad’s Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival which has hosted the virtual who’s who of Indian and global theatre has come to be regarded as one of the foremost theatre assemblies in the subcontinent, at the same time giving an impetus to new work from upcoming young artistes of different cities.

From classical to contemporary theatre, physical and dance theatre, puppet and circus theatre, bio-plays to solo performances, mythological and avant-garde, intimate and spectacle, musicals and storytelling, historical pageants to social dramas, the festival repertoire has presented a wide bouquet to theatre aficionados of the south.

While thespians like Habib Tanvir, Usha Ganguli, Tom Alter, Surekha Sikri and Jalabala Vaidya had their last stage appearances at this national assembly, Alyque Padamsee, Pankaj Kapur and Kulbhushan Kharbanda made their comebacks to theatre on this stage.

Leading actors like Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Anupam Kher have paid annual tributes to Qadir Ali Baig.

ALSO READ-Theatre Needs More Support, Corporate Backing Lacking

Lite Blogs Theatre

Theatre Needs More Support, Corporate Backing Lacking

“The atmosphere in the rehearsal room was brilliant. It was lovely to be around them and there were things that happened to people but the kind of joy that was in the room was unbelievable. The level which people share, it was an absolute joy. It is a comedy and there are so many different ideas. “…reports Asian Lite News

Long back, he had seen the film ’To Be or Not To Be’, a textbook movie shown at all film schools which is about a Polish theatre group struggling to survive, trying to escape and fool Hitler and his people. The film made a huge impact on theatre director Atul Kumar, and thus was born the play ‘Baaghi Albele’.

“Many artists including myself feel censored and attacked. A few of my close friends have also suffered and it felt like the right time to attempt it. So I approached the writer Nick Witbee and he allowed us to perform it. One is always trying to negotiate how to put out your views — directly, metaphorically and poetically. The play is our attempt to underline, through performance, the relevance of art and artists to the healthy growth of a nation. ‘Baaghi Albele’, is daring and brave and I am proud of it,” he told. 

In times, when getting ‘hurt’ seems to be the easiest thing to do — stand-up comedy, a film’s name, and a very shallow and linear reading of the ‘culture’, he hopes people become stronger every time they are silenced. “There have been places where theatre groups have performed the same play where a group member was killed. I admire such hearts of steel. I just pray we develop multiple ways of fighting back.” 

This is Kumar’s first production in Punjabi and he is set to bring it to Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Amritsar. The director, who grew up in Old Delhi amid Punjabis, understands the language well. When he decided to adapt it to an Indian situation, he zeroed in on this language as it has a joie de vivre. “Punjabis have always fought against oppression and been a part of so many revolutions,” he asserts.

“The atmosphere in the rehearsal room was brilliant. It was lovely to be around them and there were things that happened to people but the kind of joy that was in the room was unbelievable. The level which people share, it was an absolute joy. It is a comedy and there are so many different ideas. “

Kumar rejects the narrative that many major corporates are coming forward to support theatre. Adding that neither the government nor business houses are doing anything substantial for this art form, he laments that it is a constant struggle and plays that do get sponsorships mostly manage that through personal relations. “Yes, there are some corporate’ backed festivals, but they are careful about the content that goes out in the world so that their name does get attached to anything controversial. Frankly, the most important theatre festival is the one that happens in Kerala which is completely state-funded. And that is autonomous and they get international and national. And if people are putting crores and lakhs then they do want their share back.” 

Kumar, who trained in Kathakali and Kalaripayattu for several years says the same has had a huge impact on his psycho-physical formation as an actor, not to mention how these forms contributed to his fitness. “Although I don’t practice those art forms now they have had an impact on my creativity too, and I do many things that are not in the genre of theatre and not everyday stories. It helped me to delve into that world and allowed me to bring it into the contemporary world.”

Now seen regularly on OTT and in films, he smiles, he has to make some money too. “My kids are growing up fast. You will see me in more movies and series.” 

The director, who started an international residency in Kamshet 12 years back where artists from across the world come to perform and hold workshops, adds, “We hold festivals and children’s workshops there too, besides performances at local schools. It is completely organic and blends itself beautifully with all kinds of art.”

Wanting to try out Harold Pinter’s ‘Mountain Language’ and do it in 13 different languages in 13 cities, he also wants to explore Charlie Chaplin’s biography. “I am also thinking of taking a long sabbatical… I have done theatre for so long, I do want to try something else too.”

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Arts & Culture Lite Blogs Theatre

Candlelight India’s Social Concert Experience

Candlelight India will travel to Mumbai and Bangalore initially, with more cities in the pipeline this year. Candlelight India’s first concert will be at Mumbai’s Royal Opera House on October 13…reports Asian Lite News

The team that brought the immersive, multimedia experience Van Gogh 360 to India, will now introduce Indian audiences to another wildly popular social experience, Candlelight India – concerts by candlelight.

Concerts by candlelight as a concept invites a wider audience, who might never have considered attending a classical music concert, to take an interest in the most emblematic works of renowned pop artists and listen to their greatest hits in a different way.

Candlelight India will travel to Mumbai and Bangalore initially, with more cities in the pipeline this year. Candlelight India’s first concert will be at Mumbai’s Royal Opera House on October 13.

“Indian audiences have a voracious appetite for entertainment across culture, art, music and IPs such as Candlelight India – concerts by candlelight – is going to quickly become one of those must-do activities, just like Van Gogh 360°,” says Roma Makkad, spokesperson Festival House India. “It combines what people love with something new, and we are excited to take this to cities across India,” she adds.

What is special about concerts by candlelight?

Around the world, such concerts have included tributes to iconic artists as well as programmes devoted to K-Pop, film soundtracks and other themes. They can range from small, intimate gatherings to large-scale events in famous venues and landmarks that form part of a city’s cultural heritage, like the Royal Opera House in Mumbai.

In India, Candlelight India concerts will pay tribute to iconic artists like Taylor Swift, QUEEN, Coldplay among others.

Whether it’s Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’, Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ or ABBA’s ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’, a string quartet – swathed in the amber glow of hundreds of (flameless) candles – will deliver these fan favourites with a unique twist.

This multisensory musical experience is as much about the sounds that are produced in the space as well as the visually stunning, architecturally beautiful buildings lit by candlelight. The ambient illumination creates an unrivaled atmosphere that breathes life into each venue. Bathed in the gentle flicker of candlelight, these settings become even more stunning.

Imagined as a social experience to be enjoyed by all age groups, there are a few interesting features about candlelight concerts. There is no bar or merch stall at the venue. Pictures and videos are permitted before the concert begins and during a designated period during the concert. At all other times, you are expected to keep your phone away.

ALSO READ-Recipe: Chicken Popsicles

Lite Blogs London News Theatre

Don’t Miss Out: ‘The Ocean’ Returns To London’s West End For 7-Week Stint

Based on a best-selling novel by Neil Gaiman, adapted by Joel Horwood and directed by Katy Rudd, this thrilling adventure of fantasy, myth and friendship, will play at the Noël Coward Theatre from 11 October until 25 November 2023. Following a highly acclaimed tour across the UK and Ireland, the National Theatre’s smash-hit production of The Ocean at the End of the Lane will return to London’s West End for a strictly limited 7-week run this autumn. A preview by west-end theatre columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International

This first major stage adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s work blends magic with memory in a tour-de-force of storytelling that takes audiences on an epic journey to a childhood once forgotten and the darkness that lurks at the very edge of it.  Currently on tour, visiting 29 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland, the full cast will transfer with the show into London’s West End.

Charlie Brooks (Ursula) and Keir Ogilvy (Boy) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. c. Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

This year marks 10 years since Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane,was first published. The novel won Book of the Year at 2013 National Book Awards and has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide.  

Finty Williams (Old Mrs Hempstock) and Millie Hikasa (Lettie) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. c. Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

The Ocean at the End of the Lane production received its world premiere at the National Theatre in 2019.  It made its West End debut at the Duke of York’s Theatre in 2021.  

Writer Neil Gaiman said, “10 years since my novel was first published The Ocean at the End of the Lane won lots of awards and people loved it, then the National Theatre turned it into the most amazing play. I am thrilled, overjoyed and absolutely delighted that this glorious adaptation of my book is going to be returning to the West End on St Martin’s Lane. It makes audiences laugh and cry and wonder. If you wanted to see it, now is your chance.”

The cast of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. c. Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

National Theatre Director, Rufus Norris said: “Audiences across the UK and Ireland have been immensely enjoying this beautiful story from Neil Gaiman’s incredible imagination for the last seven months.  We are so pleased that this magical production of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, first created by Joel Horwood, Katy Rudd and their formidable creative team for our Dorfman Theatre, continues its wonderful journey, delighting audiences of all ages.”

Millie Hikasa (Lettie) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. c. Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

The 17-strong ensemble cast are: Charlie Brooks (Ursula), Daniel Cornish (alternate Boy), Trevor Fox(Dad), Emma-Jane Goodwin (ensemble/understudy), Paolo Guidi (ensemble), Millie Hikasa (Lettie Hempstock), Lewis Howard (ensemble/understudy), Kemi-Bo Jacobs (Ginnie Hempstock), Jasmeen James (ensemble/understudy), Ronnie Lee (ensemble), Aimee McGoldrick (ensemble), Laurie Ogden (Sis), Keir Ogilvy (Boy), Domonic Ramsden (ensemble), Joe Rawlinson-Hunt (ensemble/understudy), Risha Silvera (ensemble/understudy) and Finty Williams (Old Mrs Hempstock).  

Finty Williams (Old Mrs Hempstock) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. c. Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

The award-winning creative team includes set designer, Fly Davis; costume and puppet designer, Samuel Wyer; movement director, Steven Hoggett; composer, Jherek Bischoff; lighting designer, Paule Constable; sound designer, Ian Dickinson; magic and illusions director and designer, Jamie Harrison; puppetry director, Finn Caldwell and casting director, Naomi Downham. The associate creative team includes associate director, Sophie Dillon Moniram; associate set designer, Tim Blazdell; associate movement director, Jess Williams; associate lighting designers, Rob Casey (for Ammonite) and Tom Turner; associate sound designer, Chris Reid; associate magic and illusions director, John Bulleid; and associate puppetry director, Gareth Aled.

Millie Hikasa (Lettie), Keir Ogilvy (Boy) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. c. Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

Neil Gaiman is known for his graphic novels, including The Sandman series (a major new Netflix series which in its first 10 days was watched for over 198 million hours by audiences around the world); his novels for adults and children including StardustCoraline, and The Graveyard Book; and multiple film and television projects including Good Omens (season 2 is due to appear on Amazon Prime from 28 July) and Anansi Boys.

Finty Williams (Old Mrs Hempstock) and Kemi-Bo Jacobs (Ginnie) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. c. Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is currently on a 39-week UK and Ireland Tour until 7 October before it transfers to the Noël Coward Theatre. 

Millie Hikasa (Lettie) and Keir Ogilvy (Boy) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. c. Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Laurie Ogden (Sis), Charlie Brooks (Ursula) and Trevor Fox (Dad) in The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Credit Pamela Raith
Keir Ogilvy (Boy), Millie Hikasa (Lettie), Kemi-Bo Jacobs (Ginnie) and the cast of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. c. Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Keir Ogilvy (Boy), Millie Hikasa (Lettie) and the cast of The Ocean at the End of the Lane. c. Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Keir Ogilvy (Boy), Finty Williams (Old Mrs Hempstock) and Millie Hikasa (Lettie)
Finty Williams (Old Mrs Hempstock) and Trevor Fox (Dad)
London News Sport Theatre

James Graham’s ‘Dear England’ Comes to West End Oct 9


The National Theatre’s critically acclaimed, production of Dear England that will transfer to the Prince Edward Theatre is a play by James Graham, directed by Rupert Goold, which tells the story of the England men’s football team under Gareth Southgate.  

Dear England cast at the National Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner

It’s time to change the game. The country that gave the world football has since delivered a painful pattern of loss. Why can’t England’s men win at their own game? With the worst track record for penalties in the world, England manager Gareth Southgate knows he needs to open his mind and face up to the years of hurt to take team and country back to the promised land.

Dear England cast at the National Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner

Commissioned by the National Theatre, Dear England was developed with the theatre’s New Work department and had its world premiere in the Olivier theatre on 20 June 2023.

National Theatre Director and Chief Executive, Rufus Norris said: “We’re delighted to be transferring Dear England to the Prince Edward Theatre. James’s brilliant play takes the topic of football and uses it as a fascinating lens on English identity, leadership, flawed masculinity, and how we see ourselves and are seen on a very different world stage.  The production has been playing to packed houses all summer creating an electrifying buzz in the auditorium, with Joseph Fiennes’ pitch-perfect portrayal of Gareth Southgate.  We’re so pleased that Dear England is joining the roster of NT productions transferring to the West End this year, and we’re thrilled that there will now be even more opportunities for new audiences to experience this show.”  

Joseph Fiennes (Gareth Southgate) and Dear England cast at the National Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner

Following their acclaimed productions of Tammy Faye and Ink at the Almeida Theatre, writer James Graham (Best of Enemies, Young Vic; Sherwood, BBC) has reunited with director Rupert Goold(Spring Awakening, Almeida Theatre; Judy, 20th Century Fox) for this gripping examination of both nation and game.

James Graham, writer of Dear England at the National Theatre. Photo by Johan Persson

Playwright James Graham said:

“To put the National Game on the stage of the National Theatre has been an utter dream and, in particular, to see the subject matter draw in new audiences to watch a play.  It fills me with such excitement and joy to be bringing Rupert’s euphoric and entertaining production to the West End, with all its incredible movement and music and – what seems to be, for audiences so far – a deeply moving story inspired by the incredible journey of the men’s England football team.”

Rupert Goold (Director) in rehearsal for Dear England at the National Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner

Director Rupert Goold said:

“I have thoroughly loved making Dear England with James, at the National Theatre.  We have an incredible team of artists and actors and it’s been a joy to see audiences so engaged with this production, many of whom were young people visiting theatre for the first time.  I can’t wait to transfer it to the West End and give even more people the opportunity to experience this brilliant play.”

Joseph Fiennes. Photo by Gary William Ogle

Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu; The Mother, Netflix) will reprise his role as Gareth Southgate, with further casting to be announced. Goold is joined by set designer, Es Devlin; costume designer Evie Gurney; lighting designer, Jon Clark; movement directors, Ellen Kane and Hannes Langolf; sound designers, Dan Balfour and Tom Gibbons, with additional music by Max Perryment and video designer, Ash J Woodward.  Casting is by Bryony Jarvis Taylor; dialect coach is Richard Ryder and associate director is Elin Schofield.

Dear England in the West End is supported by American Express, the National Theatre’s Preferred Card Partner.

Lite Blogs London News Theatre

‘Gandhari’ comes alive in the age of willful blindness

The Mythologyworkshop presents Gandhari – The Mother Who Chose Not To See, in the Etcetera Theatre, Camden NW1, London. In blending the mythic with the modern, ‘Echoes of Gandhari’ is a deep dive into the legacy of Gandhari- that formidable, melancholy matriarch of the Mahabharata. A Preview feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Choosing to blindfold herself in solidarity with her husband- the blind King Dhritirasthra- Ghandari makes a decision that, in time, will cost her everything. Along the way we are introduced to the lives of three contemporary women, now struggling with motherhood and womanhood, and the ways in which they too, have chosen to metaphorically blind themselves. Each scene, whether poetic or modern, will offer a direct parallel to some part of Gandhari’s story, in an attempt to ask, what is the relevance of that mother’s tragedy today?

The play is the product of the international theatre workshop, Performing Mythological Characters In Contemporary Theatre, conducted in London.

Director of the workshop and co-writer, Tom Edward Kane recently spoke about the workshop and the play. “The objective of this workshop is to give performers an opportunity to explore complex methodological characters from their cultures. In this edition we explore Gandhari, one of the major characters in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, who has not been explored much in contemporary literature, cinema or theatre performances. Perhaps, it is the only play where we explore her in depth and find her to be more relevant and alive in the age of willful blindness that we are living in.”

The play is co-written and performed by Vaishali Chakravarty, an actor and the founder of Joy Of Drama a drama-in-education organization based in India. She is approaching the performance from her real life experience as a teacher where she has to meet mother everyday. “It’s not easy to be a woman and more so, a mother. As a teacher, I have to interact with mothers everyday and some of them are living a life much like Gandhari. They wear blindfolds of various kinds and choose not to see things that lead to some of the most important issues we are facing today.”

The play is directed by the RADA graduate Katie Georgiou, who takes a contemporary view of Gandhari. “One way of looking at performing a mythological character is a grand and colorful costume drama, nothing wrong with that but I wanted to put her in the world we live in today. In which shape and form do we see her around us or inside us? In the process, we may be able to make the audience look inwards and think about the choices that we have made in our lives.”

‘Gandhari- The Mother Who Chose Not To See’ will have five performances between Sep 26-30, 2023, including a special post-show discussion with the cast and crew on 30 Sep 2023.


Tom Edward Kane – Co-Writer & Workshop Director

Tom is an actor, writer and director from London and a graduate of RADA. His focus of creative research has been Indian Mythology and its complex characters. He has written and acted in several plays and short films. He is also a visiting faculty at RADA and an independent teacher.

Vaishali Chakravarty- Co-Writer & Actor

Vaishali is an actor and drama-in-education expert from New Delhi. She has trained and performed with the master Indian theatre practitioners Ima Sabitri Devi and Late Heisnam Kanhailal. She has performed in several productions with the Actor Factor Theatre Company. Her theatre credits include Anurag Kashyap’s Aakaar, Shashak Gupta’s The Leela Tapes, Munshi Premchand’s Kafan, Girish Karnad’s Bali and Sunit Sinha’s Khudgudi. Her performances have found special mentions in The Hindu, Indian Express and The Times of India.

Katie Georgiou – Director

Katie is an actor from Newcastle upon Tyne and a graduate of RADA (2008). Theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (RSC), Heartbeat of El Salvador (Rise Theatre) Ms. (RADA Festival). Her directing credits include No Exit (Sartre) and Twelfth Night. She is thrilled to be directing this exciting re – imagining of the Gandhari story.

Shashwat Srivastava- Sound, Art And Communication Design

Shashwat is a music composer, actor, director, playwright and an advertising professional from New Delhi. His repertoire of work includes a number of theatre productions, feature films, documentaries, music albums and award winning advertising campaigns. He is an alumnus of the Indian Institute Of Mass Communication, New Delhi.

About Mythologyworkshop Ltd

Mythologyworkshop is an organization founded by Tom Edward Kane to bring artists, scholars, performers and audiences together to explore the fascinating world of mythology, its stories and characters and how much these reflect upon our times. The company aims to organize workshops, shorts courses and produce plays and films on the subject.

About Joy Of Drama

Joy Of Drama is an organization dedicated to helping children and young adults develop intelligence and life skills through drama. Based in New Delhi, the organization conducts several long and short term programs and creates opportunities for young people to create theatre plays.