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The AOTP Symposium

An annual meet-up of Designers, Technicians, and Managers featuring livewire themes on challenges and opportunities in the live performing arts and events sectors across India and the world.

In August 2022, the NCPA held its first ever Art Of The Possible Symposium

Curated by the theatre department at the NCPA, this free online symposium brought together designers, technicians, and managers working in the live performing arts and events sectors from across India and beyond. This first edition held eight sessions across two days, looking at a variety of current topics in the technical arts industry and led by technical professionals across India and the UK. The Symposium topics were framed by contextual concerns unearthed in the NCPA-commissioned Art of the Possible study published in 2021.  

Play Video

Symposium Schedule

Saturday 27 August

1.1 What is the Art of The Possible?

15:00 -16:00 IST

In this opening session, we introduced you to the Art of the Possible, how it came about, and what it will be. We chatted with Shabana Azmi about her love of theatre and the importance of design, technical, and management roles in producing high quality theatre.





1.2 Collaborative Practice – Panel Discussion and Q&A

16:30-17:30 IST

This session explored what collaborative practice means in terms of the design and technical elements of a theatrical production. A director, a costume designer, and a lighting designer discussed what collaboration means to them and how they aim to achieve it.





1.3 Pay & Working Conditions – Round Table

18:00-19:15 IST

In this session, we heard from you and also looked into the Art X Company’s research regarding pay and working conditions in India. In small groups, we looked at some of the current issues to give feedback to the community as a whole.






1.4 Networking Event

19:30 – 20:30 IST

Participants met some of India’s top theatre directors and producers at this social mixer. 













Sunday 28 August

2.1 Designing Internationally – Panel Discussion and Q&A

15:00 -16:00 IST

This session looked at the challenges of designing internationally from the perspectives of lighting, sound, set, and video. It examined the main considerations involved, and how best to embrace them.








2.2 Contemporary Working Practice – Panel Discussion and Q&A

16:30 – 17:30 IST

One of the main themes to emerge from the Art X Company’s research was the challenge of standardising contemporary working practice in India. In this session, production managers discussed health and safety protocols in their particular region – the good, the bad, and the indifferent. We also looked at contracts for freelancers.

Varoon P.



2.3 Women in Production Arts – Closed Table for those identifying as Female

18:00 – 19:15 IST

During this round table, we investigated some of the issues that surround being female in technical arts disciplines in India, and how we can develop career progression as well as encourage younger women into these professions.









2.4 What Happens Next

19:30 – 20:15 IST

In this session, we looked at the outcomes from this symposium and how we can enable the Art of the Possible to move forward in the best possible way for everyone involved. We specifically looked at how best to continue to build this community both online and in-person.






Shabana Azmi

Internationally celebrated Film and Theatre actress

Shabana Azmi is an internationally celebrated film and theatre actress who believes art should be used as an instrument for social change.

Her entry into films marked the way for the parallel cinema movement with Shyam Benegal’s Ankur in 1974. She has won five National Awards for Best Actress, three of them in a row, which is an unprecedented feat. She has also won five International Awards for Best Actress. Satyajit Ray, in his book Our Films Their Films, says of her “In her very first film Shabana Azmi establishes herself as the finest dramatic actress in the country.”

She is also highly respected as a social activist and tireless campaigner for the rights of women, slum dwellers and the underprivileged. She heads the Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS), an NGO that works for the empowerment of the girl child in rural India. MWS works on education, primary health and sanitation, skill development and employment generation. Leading Bollywood designer Manish Malhotra has brought the craft of chikankari (exquisite traditional hand embroidery) of the Mijwan women to the doorsteps of the Indian film and fashion industry. From being non-existent on the map of India, Mijwan is today known all over the world as a model village that is replicable and scalable.

Shabana Azmi was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the President of India in 1997. She is a recipient of the Padmashri and Padma Bhushan. She was awarded the Gandhi International Peace Prize at the House of Lords in 2006. At the Bicentennial celebrations of International Human Rights in Paris in 1989 she was honoured along with Mother Teresa by President Mitterrand of France. 

She also won the Crystal Award along with Muhammad Ali and Michael Douglas at the World Economic Forum 2006. She has been conferred five doctorates by renowned universities, both national and international. She has received the prestigious Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Chavez Award and is Visiting Professor of the University of Michigan. A former UN Goodwill Ambassador for Population and Development,  she continues to work on issues of public health. She has recently been nominated as a Global Leadership Ambassador for the Women in Public Service Project initiated by Hillary Clinton.

Antonia Collins


Antonia Collins was a freelance Stage Manager, Educator and Educational Consultant working across the UK, Asia and America. She led the development of the Art of the Possible programme at the NCPA, including helming the research report, leading the development of this portal, and shaping the curriculum of the aotp practical training programme, scheduled to launch in September 2024.

Originally an opera stage manager, in 2000, Antonia began teaching at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, becoming Head of Learning and Teaching for the college and course leader for its world-class Masters in Stage and Event Management. In 2015, Antonia became Head of Entertainment Technology, Management and Design at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and in 2018, moved to Florida State University. In 2019, she graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MSc. in Digital Education. Throughout this time, Antonia continued to work professionally in theatre and events.

In 2019, Antonia launched the first-ever fully online programme for those looking to pursue a career in stage management without undertaking a university course, through her company, The Bamboo Manager Project.

Antonia’s legacy lies in her deeply kind and empathetic approach to training and working in theatre and events, with an aesthetic output that speaks to the highest quality. She seeded the aotp project with the same quality of brilliance and her work continues to inspire us to build this platform in the way she would have.

“Antonia Collins was a wonderful stage manager, educator and friend. The work she has done around the world for organisations, fellow professionals and students leaves a legacy of brilliance. Everyone who was lucky enough to work with her was changed for the better. This initiative will continue on with her ethos and personality firmly entrenched at the heart of it. She will be greatly missed.” 

-Bruce Guthrie,

Head of Theatre & Films

National Centre for the Performing Arts

“Do the work.” “Be kind to each other.” “Always have FUN in your work life!”

Antonia Collins LWCMD, MSC, SFHEA

February 15th 1970 – April 30th 2023

Rashmi Dhanwani

Founder & CEO - The Art X Company

Rashmi Dhanwani leads the Art X Company, a strategic consultancy for the cultural sector focused on strategy, audience development and sector research. Prior to founding Art X, Rashmi has worked with NCPA Mumbai, Breakthrough in Delhi, the newspaper Daily News and Analysis (DNA); Kalaghoda Arts Festival, and The Goa Project. She holds a Masters in Cultural and Creative Industries from King’s College London.

She has also been a recipient of the ARThink South Asia Fellowship (2011-12), a participant fellow at ‘The Academy—a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and the Weill Music Institute’, a scholarship grantee of the JN Tata Trust and Charles Wallace India Trust, and a 2017 Global Fellow of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA), New York. Rashmi has also founded Arts Culture Resources India, a network and platform for cultural professionals in India and South Asia. In 2021, the Art X Company was awarded a grant by the British Council to design and develop, a portal showcasing all arts and culture festivals in India and a platform for festival professionals to learn, network and upskill themselves. Rashmi is the cofounder of this portal.

Bruce Guthrie


Bruce Guthrie is the Head of Theatre and Film at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai, India.

His directing credits include Sea Wall (Add Art Festival, NCPA Mumbai); Constellations (NCPA, Mumbai); Man to Man (Wilton’s Music Hall, UK tour and Brooklyn Academy of Music); Rent: 20th Anniversary Production (St. James Theatre and UK tour); The Last Mermaid with Charlotte Church (Festival of Voice, Wales Millennium Centre); Lotty’s War (UK Tour); Bakersfield Mist starring Kathleen Turner and Ian McDiarmid (Duchess Theatre); An Incident At The Border by Kieran Lynn (Finborough and Trafalgar Studios); The Merchant Of Venice, Othello and Twelfth Night for Singapore Repertory Theatre (Fort Canning Park, Singapore); Stories By Heart written by and starring multi-award-winning actor John Lithgow (Lyttelton NT).

Among his leadership roles are Member of the Guildford School of Acting’s Advisory Board; Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre of Wales, directing The Caucasian Chalk Circle in 2015 and Romeo and Juliet in 2016. Concerts and events credits are HRH The Prince of Wales 70th Birthday Celebration SW7: Sam Warburton’s Testimonial Year for NSPCC Wales 2018 and 2019; The Welsh Guards Centenary Celebration in 2015 for the Welsh Guards Charity; St David’s Day Celebration for HRH The Prince of Wales 2013. 

Training: BA Honours in Acting at the Guildford School of Acting. As a Director: The National Theatre Studio and with Howard Davies, Sir Richard Eyre, Deborah Warner and Sam Mendes.

Chari Arespacochaga

director - theatre, film, multi-media, special events and concerts

Chari is a director for theatre, film, multi-media, special events and concerts. She is a part of the Roundabout Theatre Company’s Directors Group. Her theatrical direction credits include Marisol, the world premiere translations by Ayako Kano of Fumiko Enchi’s Restless Night in Late Spring and A Hell of Her Own (HedgePig Theatre Ensemble and May-Yi Theater Company), Coin Toss by Alexis Sims (Abingdon Theatre Company), Long Distance Affair (PopUP Theatrics NY, Juggerknot Theatre Company), In The Heights, The Motherf**ker With The Hat, Jesus Hopped The ‘A’ Train. Birthmark (world premiere), Love’s Labour’s Lost the Musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Little Shop of Horrors (Post Playhouse), Amadeus, 9 Minutes (for PopUP Theatrics NYC) among others. She has also worked with Susan Stroman on the Dot (Vineyard Theatre), and with Jeff Whiting in NYMF’s Single Wide through the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. She is also a Professor at the at the School of Theatre of Florida State University.

Prema Mehta

theatre lighting designer

Prema Mehta is an established theatre lighting designer with experience of working across the UK in regional theatres and in the West End. She has designed over 200 productions.

Prema used her experience working in theatre to set up Stage Sight – a sector support organisation with 200+ members who have committed to making practical change to create an offstage workforce.

In 2019, Prema was nominated in the Theatre & Performance category at the h100 Awards which recognises and celebrates the most innovative and diverse talent throughout the UK. In 2021, she completed the Clore Pulse leadership course. She was awarded a fellowship from The Association of British Theatre Technicians and a fellowship from her alma mater, The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Prema is a Trustee at the Unicorn Theatre and is Artistic Associate at The Young Vic.

Gabriella Slade

Tony award winning costume designer

Gabriella is a Tony Award-winning costume designer working in the UK, US and internationally.

Current and forthcoming projects include: Six (Broadway, West End, Australia and UK Tour – winner of the Tony Award for Best Costume Design and Offie Award for Best Costume Design; nominated for the Olivier Award and WhatsOnStage Award for Best Costume Design) and The Cher Show(UK Tour).

Other recent costume credits include: Bedknobs and Broomsticks (UK Tour, Michael Harrison Entertainment); Curtains (West End and UK Tour); Spice Girls: Spice World (Arena Tour 2019); Showstopper! (West End and UK Tour); Revelers’ Mass; The Green House; Folk (National Dance Company Wales); The Importance of Being Earnest (Vaudeville Theatre); The Last Days of Anne Boleyn (Tower of London); Working (Southwark Playhouse); In The Heights (Kings Cross Theatre, previously Southwark Playhouse – winner of three Olivier Awards); Peter And The Starcatcher (Royal & Derngate); The Last Five Years (St. James’ Theatre); and The Last Mermaid (Wales Millennium Centre).

Yael Crishna

Yael Crishna - Graduate from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (B.D.A. Technical Production), Sydney,

A graduate from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (B.D.A. Technical Production), Sydney, Yael has been an active part of theatre in Mumbai for over two decades.

As a freelancer, she has worked with a variety of groups including ACE Productions (Broken Images, Cyrusitis), AGP (Good Mourning), AKVarious (Dekh Behen, One Night Only, Miss Cuckoo, Internal Affairs, The Hound of the Baskervilles – 2020), Banyan Tree Productions (Still Single, Take Me in Your Hands), Book My Show LIVE (Disney’s Aladdin, Peppa Pig’s Celebration), Dragon Rose Productions (Event for Unity, 26/11 Memorials, PCGT Youth Shows), Dur Se Brothers (Elephant in the Room), FATS TheArts (All In The Timing, 777), J Productions (Yatagarasu – Keep Calm and Dance), Masque (Black with Equal), Motley (The Threepenny Opera), NCPA Productions (SOI World Music Concert – Karl Miller, Laughter in the House, Laughter in the House 2), Oranjuice Entertainment (ABP Awards, Sing India Sing), Patchworks Ensemble (Fly By Night, Ila, The Gentlemen’s Club AKA Tape), QTP (Beyond Therapy, Chapter Two, The President is Coming, TATA Literature Live!), Rage Productions (The Glass Menagerie, The Bureaucrat, Love Letters, Mahua, Jaal, The Djinns of Eidgah, Naqqaash, Class of ’84, Twelve Angry Jurors, One on One, One on One 2, Pune Highway, 27/11), The Industrial Theatre Company (The Maids), The Orchid Room Experiment (The Pereira’s Bakery at 76 Chapel Road), The Primetime Theatre Company (Nine Parts of Desire, Wedding Album, Gauhar), and Silly Point Productions (The Buckingham Secret, Rusty Screws, Laughter Therapy).

With shows, she has travelled extensively across India, working in a variety of venues and also in Europe, the Middle East, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Africa. In June 2017, she was invited by the Sydney-based Bakehouse Theatre Company for the play Jatinga, which premiered to a sold-out season. She is currently working on Pah-La (written by Abhishek Majumdar), as a Stage Manager and Lighting Designer. This will be the first Tibetan-language play to tour India (2022 – 2023) and Europe (2023).

Saatvika Kantamneni

Producer for Akvarious Productions

Saatvika Kantamneni is currently the Producer for Akvarious Productions. She also works as an independent production and stage manager for theatre and live events. She is a graduate of the MA in Collaborative Theatre Production and Design from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London.

She is the Production and Stage Management Mentor for Drama School, Mumbai. She has co-written a theatre producing programme that focuses on creating highly skilled professionals who are also critical and social thinkers. She conducts an introductory stage management workshop and also mentors stage managers.

She has been a Senior Stage Manager for Disney’s Aladdin in India. She has worked with QTP Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. as company stage manager for three years. She has also been the Festival Director of Thespo, a national-level youth theatre festival, for two years.

Saatvika enjoys working in unconventional venues and creating collaborative work that challenges the world we live in.

Avafrin Mistry

Production Manager & Show Caller

Avafrin Mistry is a Production Manager and Show Caller who has worked on plays such as Bombay Jazz, The Merchant of Venice, Ek Mulaqat, One on One 2 and the Bollywood musical in Dubai, Jaan–e Jigar, to name a few. In the last few years, she has been at the helm of several large-scale productions in India and internationally. Avafrin is currently a member of the Department of Theatre and Film at the NCPA.

Pallavi Patel

Pallavi Patel, along with Anubha Patnaik and Srushti Deopujari, had the idea of collaborating while running the costume team of Disney’s Aladdin in 2018 – The Costume Team. Their love for visual storytelling through costumes brought them together. With individual expertise, they see a production through, right from the design to the wrap of the production. With The Costume Team’s drive to provide unique solutions and push the boundaries, they enjoy bringing challenging ideas to life.

Akarsh Khurana

theatre and film actor, director, and writer

Akarsh Khurana is a theatre and film actor, director and writer. He has also founded Akvarious Productions, one of India’s leading theatre production houses Also one of the leading theatre producers in India, Akarsh (with his company, Akvarious Productions) has producedwith over 70 plays in the last 21 years including nine plays for children. Akarsh won the award for Best Director twice at Thespo (India’s premier youth theatre festival) for his early work and went on to be nominated five times at a national level for Best Director (at the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards) and won once for Stage Design. He has often collaborated with international playwrights, having directed the work of Ayub Khan-Din (Rafta, Rafta…), David Harrower (Blackbird), Hassan Abdulrazzak (Baghdad Wedding), Marius von Mayenburg (The Ugly One), Michael Puzzo (The Dirty Talk), and most recently, the stage adaptation of The Kite Runner. Akarsh He has adapted novels by Horace McCoy, Monika Schroder and Ruskin Bond into plays, and recently staged an Indian adaptation of Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s A Small Family Business. He has written screenplays for a few feature films, including the very successful Krrish. He has directed lots of web sketches, cineplays, a television movie (Real FM), three web series, and three feature films including Karwaan and Rashmi Rocket. He also co-wrote two seasons of Tripling, the hugely popular Indian web series. He is currently completing the second season of Mismatched for Netflix.


Artistic Director of QTP Entertainment Pvt. Ltd

Quasar Thakore Padamsee is a theatre-holic. As Artistic Director of QTP Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, he has directed and produced over 25 productions since 1999. He is also a founder of the youth theatre movement, Thespo. His most recent productions include Every Brilliant Thing, A Peasant of El Salvador, Khatijabai of Karmali Terrace and Project S.t.r.i.p. When not found in rehearsal, he can most likely be spotted on the cricket field.

Vikranth Pawar

Director and Producer

Director and Producer Vikranth Pawar has over two decades of experience in the theatre and media industry in India. Starting out with some notable work in English theatre, Vikranth chose to talk about the unspoken concerns of contemporary relationships through his plays namely Conditions Apply, Anything but Love, Two to Tango, Clogged Arteries and more. He then expanded his canvas by venturing into large scale musicals. From Co-Directing the first musical at the Kingdom of Dreams (Gurgaon) – Zangoora, writing and directing their follow up resident show Jhumroo, to being Disney’s choice Director for their first musical –Beauty and the Beast (2015), Vikranth has set industry milestones with each production.He currently heads the Live Entertainment Division for Disney India under which, he delivered the successful launch of Disney Aladdin, which ran to packed houses at the NCPA.

Avinash Shankar

Director, Blank Slate Entertainment

Avinash Shankar is an advertising professional with more than a passing interest in theatre. Identifying a niche, Avinash has brought world renowned original West End productions to India, starting with Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense for 19 shows over two seasons across Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai in 2016.

This was followed by the Broadway and West End musical Million Dollar Quartet which performed two seasons in India in 2017 and 2019, and the longest running play in the world, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which sold out a season in Mumbai in 2018 and had a hugely successful tour in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai in 2019.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Avinash pioneered pay per view streaming of international theatre in India with the Original Theatre Company’s productions of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art and The Croft. In an ideal world Avinash would be at the racecourse or watching cricket.

Vidyun Singh

Programme Coordinator at the Drama School Mumbai (DSM)

Vidyun Singh has worked extensively in the programming of performing and fine arts events. As the Director of Programmes at Habitat World (India Habitat Centre) since 1997, she has been pivotal in making it India’s foremost performing arts and cultural centre. She also curates four annual cultural festivals – the Habitat International Film Festival showcasing international cinema, the Habitat Film Festival showcasing the best of pan-Indian regional cinema, the Old World Theatre Festival of original plays, and Samanvay: The IHC Indian Languages Festival. 

Prior to pivoting to the role of an arts leader, Vidyun has been a pioneering fashion choreographer since the inception of the Indian fashion industry in the 1980s. Her company, Media Makers, with partner Asha Kochhar has produced some of India’s landmark fashion presentations. She has been on several fashion award juries, and has contributed articles on Indian textiles and fashion for leading publications. As a thought leader, Vidyun was sought as an advisor on the National Design Policy panel and Handloom boards by the Government of India. 

In 2019, Vidyun launched Future Collective along with award winning sustainable designer Roma Narsinghani. Future Collective brings together like-minded artists, designers, brands and individuals to shape a new ‘conscious culture’ – one that questions itself about what, how and how much they consume. The first Future Collective Conscious Culture Design Fair was held at Bikaner House in February 2020. The next edition is scheduled for February 2023 in Mumbai.

Krish Kumar

career in entertainment and events

A Chennai based individual, my career in entertainment and events is based entirely on my passion for good music, good musicians, inspiring artists and the need to showcase them in the best possible manner.

28 years of curiosity and constant learning have imbued me with deep and wide insights and experience in this field,

  •  Knowledge spans playing and selling music
  •  Identifying, growing and managing talent/ artists
  •  Strategising, creating, marketing, operational execution and P&L handling of successful small/ mid size/ and large music based events
  • Technical and operational support and capability to leading event companies in the country
  • Ability to deliver turnkey music performances
  • Unparalled expertise of delivery within Chennai
  • Setting up, operationalising, and smoothly running multiple F&B outlets and a boutique hotel
  • Creating one of the best and most successful
    performance platforms in the country: the multi-crore The Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall.
  • Took operational turnover from a mere Rs. 50,000 in 1991 to roughly 4 crores today

Andy Collins


Andy has been working as a Sound Designer and Audio Consultant for over 30 years. His musical theatre sound design credits include UK No1 touring productions of Godspell, Me and My Girl and High Society. Other significant productions include Jesus Christ Superstar and West Side Story and its subsequent transfer to the Teatro Dell’Opera in Rome for GöteborgsOperan – Sweden.

Andy’s sound design credits also include major symphonic arena concert tours and outdoor festivals from the UK to Malaysia. These include productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Another Kind of Magic, Stars of the Musicals, Thank You for the Music, Beatlemania!, Bond … James Bond, Grease In Concert and the world premiere of A Tribute to Dirty Dancing. Andy has also designed the European premiere of a concert version of South Pacific, broadcast by BBC Radio 2. Other concert designs include Fascinatin’ Rhythm-George Gershwin, The World of Rodgers & Hammerstein, New York! New York! – Gershwin/Bernstein, a celebration symphonic concert, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and also numerous symphonic performances of West End The Concert and Broadway The Concert featuring the principal orchestras of many international cities.

His audio consultancy work includes the re-imagining of Imagine for Festival City, Dubai and numerous productions for Disneyland Hong Kong.

Andy’s musical corporate event designs range from venues as diverse as Buckingham Palace (London), Opera Garnier (Paris) and the Hall Of Flags (Washington DC).

Andy is a regular guest lecturer in sound at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff.

Rick Fisher

Lighting Designer

Rick Fisher has won a Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award for Billy Elliot on Broadway and a Helpmann Award for Billy Elliot in Sydney. He has also won two Olivier Awards for Best Lighting Design for his work at the National Theatre and a Tony and Drama Desk Award for An Inspector Calls on Broadway.

His recent work includes Giselle (National Ballet of Japan), Noises Off (Cottbus Germany), The Silent Woman (Bard, NY USA), the 30th anniversary UK tour of An Inspector Calls and Middle (National Theatre UK).

His previous work with Bruce Guthrie includes The Merchant of Venice, Othello, Twelfth Night (Singapore Rep), Rent (UK tour), The Last Mermaid (Cardiff) and Man to Man (UK tour).

Francis O’Connor

trained at Wimbledon School of Art

Francis trained at the Wimbledon School of Art. His career in the last 30 years encompasses work across drama, musical theatre and opera. He has designed numerous productions for The National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company and new work for the Royal Court and Hampstead Theatre.

Internationally, he has worked on productions for Komische Oper Berlin, Opera Geneva, Spoleto Festival and Opera de Monte-Carlo.

He has a long association with the Garsington and Grange Park festivals.

He designed the premiere of the Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Silent Night for Minnesota Opera. His designs for Jonathan Dove’s Pinocchio won much acclaim and a Faust prize nomination. This Opera North production has been seen throughout the world.

Francis is perhaps best known for his collaboration with Garry Hynes’ Druid Theatre in Galway. The many award-winning productions they’ve made include the premiere of Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Leenane Trilogy, Druid Synge and Druid Murphy.

Francis was honoured to have his work in Irish theatre, represent Ireland, in Fragments at the Prague Quadrennial 2018.

Gillian Tan

multi-disciplinary designer

Gillian Tan is a multi-disciplinary designer who works across lighting and video for various theatrical, immersive and interactive experiences. Her theatre credits are South Pacific (Chichester Festival Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, and UK Tour); The Body Remembers (Fuel); Black Love (Paines Plough and Belgrade Theatre Coventry production, in association with tiata fahodzi); Really Big and Really Loud (Paines Plough and Belgrade Theatre Coventry production); When The Long Trick’s Over (High Tide); Cinderella (Polka); Alyssa, Memoirs of A Queen! (Vaudeville Theatre); Aisha and Abhaya (Royal Ballet/Rambert); Majestique (Skråen); The Song Project – Is In Our Blood (Royal Court Theatre); 4.48 Psychosis revival (Lyric Hammersmith/Royal Opera House); La Soirée (Aldwych Theatre/Southbank Centre/Skråen); Coraline (Barbican Theatre/Royal Opera House); Tamburlaine (Arcola Theatre); Invisible Treasure (Ovalhouse Theatre); Who Do We Think We Are (Southwark Playhouse); and Crocodiles (Royal Exchange). Gillian’s film credits include NYX x Gazelle Twin: Deep England (a performance film by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard) and Held Momentarily (Royal Academy of Music).

She is also a member of the Somerset House Exchange and is the Head of Video at the RADA. She recently participated in the Unreal Engine Storytelling Fellowship.

Varoon P. Anand

Varoon P. Anand - Artistic Director

Varoon P. Anand, the Artistic Director of Kaivalya Plays, has focused on the applications of theatre to mental health, language learning and performer safety after receiving the Refunction Grant from Goethe Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan in 2018. 

For Refunction, Varoon created and directed Unravel, a play that explores the therapeutic effects of improv games on mental health. In 2019, Varoon co-created Headspace in collaboration with the Oddbird Theatre & Foundation and served as lead facilitator to offer applied improvisation for mental health workshops that ran for 12 months and were attended by over 400 individuals. 

In 2019, Varoon created a 15-hour  permanent seminar for the Instituto Cervantes to apply theatre techniques to teach Spanish. In 2020, Varoon was invited by Vanderbilt University to offer sessions using improvisation techniques to teach Hindi and Urdu, which has received a year-long research grant. 

In 2022, Varoon received the IFA Research Grant to study the application of safety. As the director of the Delhi chapter of Arts Culture Resources India (ACRI), Varoon has facilitated multiple sessions on safety in the arts including Safety Practices for Arts Managers and Venue Re-Opening Safety Measures. Varoon is also the recipient of the 2019 Gender Bender Performing Arts grant, and the 2021 and 2022 Goethe Institut’s C3 grant. Additionally, Varoon has received more than 20 commissions from Hispanic nations to create work in India for Spanish-language students, most recently producing the digital piece Ollantay for the Embassy of Perú.

David Filshie

Production - Project Manager

David is a Production/Project Manager with more than 35 years of experience in managing productions and teaching in Australia, Europe, Asia and UAE. He has been responsible for leading and managing teams from concept to completion on a diverse range and scale of productions including festivals, events, classical and contemporary concerts, musical theatre, puppetry, dance, opera, drama and exhibitions.

His recent credits include production managing the world’s first ever all-electric arena stunt vehicle show Elekron in Macau, China after which he relocated to the United Arab Emirates to be part of the senior team responsible for establishing the Sharjah Performing Arts Academy.

Recently, David has relocated back to Asia to continue his freelance career and is looking forward to being part of many new and exciting projects in the very near future.

Gurleen Judge

writer, director and light designer in the theatre

Gurleen works as a writer, director and light designer in the theatre. She has designed lights for several national and international collaborations across theatre, opera and dance such as ‘There is Something in the Water’, ‘Faqueer Nimaana’, ‘Whirlpool’, ‘Lucrece’, ‘La fedeltà premiata’, ‘Chuhal’, ‘Doll’s House’ among others. Her work has travelled to several festivals and venues in the country and abroad, including at Prague Fringe 2020, San Francisco Enacte Festival , Sydney , Rangashanakara festival and others. She also works in the field of drama in education in numerous schools and after-school centres. She is one of the recipients of the Vinod Doshi – Tendulkar – Dubey Fellowship Award 2020.

Surabhi Shrivastava

As Programme Coordinator at the Drama School Mumbai (DSM)

Surabhi’s theatrical journey began at the National School of Drama, where she participated in workshops and courses facilitated by their Theatre-in Education company. As Programme Coordinator at the Drama School Mumbai (DSM) she managed the day to day running of the school’s courses and activities. At the NCPA, she launched Off Stage Presentations, an initiative that gives young performing groups an opportunity to showcase their talent at this celebrated venue. She has worked in the stage management team on DSM’s Maati and NCPA’s Constellations, Sea Wall and The Mirror Crack’d. Surabhi enjoys performance photography and will soon be pursuing her masters in Arts Administration & Cultural Policy at Goldsmiths, University of London

David Grindle

Executive Director - the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers

David Grindle is the Executive Director of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), the global society for applied engineering in media. He previously served as Executive Director of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT).

David holds degrees in music and is trained as a classical singer. He fell in love with the art of stage management, in particular stage managing opera. He has managed productions across the United States, including stage premieres and arena productions. Working with large casts, dancers, orchestras and more than a few animals, he developed a reputation for managing large-scale productions with ease and an eye for achieving the artistic goals of the production team.

He has taught stage management at Indiana University where his students continued on to careers from Broadway to special events. As a guest lecturer in management, he has spoken across the US, China, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.