Aparna Mahiyaria

Discipline: Drama

Project Summary

My PhD project, Street Theatre in Delhi: A Study of Politics of Performance, seeks to understand strategies of political theatre and re-evaluate the understanding of it through the study of street theatre in Delhi, India. Through this thesis I challenge the erstwhile conflation between political and left, progressive, socialist politics. I also seek to find alternative ways of locating the political in performance beyond the binary of form and content. The thesis follows case studies that represent the major streams of contemporary street theatre practice: Jana Natya Manch, a leftist theatre group that has been working closely with the various fronts of the Communist Party of India (Marxist); Asmita Theatre group that has been performing without affiliating itself to ‘left’ or the ‘right’ but claims to be taking to the streets issues of ‘political’ relevance; Delhi University college theatre societies that use the same form for competitions hosted by them; and right-wing street theatre which is not organised as a singular group. The thrust of this thesis is to look at performance as a product of human labour, systematically produced and disseminated and the relations that emerge as a result of this process.

Supervisory Team

Dr. Cathy Turner
University of Exeter, Exeter

Dr. Shivali Tukdeo
​NIAS, Bengaluru (India)

Wider Research Interests

  • Indian theatre history
  • Spatial politics of theatre
  • Postcolonial theory
  • Political organisation in theatrical practice
  • ​Film and popular culture in India
  • Urbanscapes and Theatre
  • Globalisation and culture
  • Gender and Representation in cultural practises