The Indian Ensemble Theatre

The Indian Ensemble was founded by Abhishek Majumdar and Sandeep Shikhar in 2009. It’s a reputed and acclaimed multi-lingual theatre company based in Bangalore that produces and supports theatre work that is fundamentally Indian in its heart. Our plays revolve around tales of contemporary society, culture and politics. We function actively as a laboratory for research and training in various processes of theatre and performance while continuing to create and to run productions throughout the year. The company’s continuous focus is on original texts, which are then researched and devised with a team of artists. We work with professional actors, directors, playwrights, designers, sound artists and technicians from all over the country.

Seven critically acclaimed plays have been produced and performed in over 130 shows all over India since the 5 years that the company came into existence. Some of the plays have been performed at prestigious festivals across India such as –

  • The International Theatre Festival of Kerala,
  • Bareilly National Theatre Festival,
  • Hindu Metroplus Theatre Festival,
  • Vinod Doshi Festival of Theatre, Pune
  • Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Festival, Delhi
  • Aadranjali Festival, Bhopal
  • Repertwahr Theatre Festival, Lucknow
  • Prithvi Festival, Mumbai,
  • The Goa Theatre Festival and
  • Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival, Bangalore.

Our production of Thook has travelled to the Carriage Theatre in Connecticut and was performed at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Our future shows are slated to be performed in major festivals across India.

Our supporters/grantees/collaborators on some of the ventures are

  • The Robert Bosch Arts Grant
  • Riad Mahmood Arts and Education Foundation
  • Schauspielhaus Hamburg
  • Goethe Institute / Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore
  • The Böll Foundation, Germany

It has been an integral aspect of the Indian Ensemble to train aspiring theatre makers for critical engagement with theatre and society. In 2010, we created a repertory for training acting students. In 2012 we started the Theatre Making Programme funded by the Riad Mahmood Foundation which had candidates from all over India coming to Bangalore for a period for 3 months of intensive training in writing, directing and staging a performance. In 2014, we facilitated a Director’s Programme where aspiring directors were trained over a period of 8 months. The programme culminated with 4 productions of those directors, which were staged in Ranga Shankara in Bangalore. Currently, we have young writers training over 6 months in a Playwright’s Programme, at the end of which they will have a final draft of their plays. All such engagements we offer for free, without a fee to the candidates.

The Indian Ensemble has had the good fortune of witnessing various students and collaborators go on to win scholarships from Charles Wallace Foundation, Inlaks and win writing awards such as the Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) award for writing, The Shayamanand Jalal prize for a new play, the Alyque Padamsee award for a play etc.






Abhishek MajumdarAbhishek Majumdar

Abhishek Majumdar is a playwright and theatre director based in Bangalore. He is the artistic director of the Indian Ensemble. In 2009, he started Indian Ensemble with Sandeep Shikhar, with the aim of creating an open multi-lingual theatre company which would produce and support theatre work. Through plays, he continues to tell tales of contemporary society, culture and politics.

His plays have been performed both nationally and internationally. His plays include: Harlesden High Street (a play in verse): Winner of the MetroPlus Playwright’s award 2008; An Arrangement of Shoes : Winner of the Toto Funds the Arts (TFA) playwright’s award. Performed in India and in Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Exeter Fringe Festival and at Theatre 503 in London; Rizwaan (English and Urdu): based on Kashmiri poet Aga Shahid Ali’s book of poems “The Country without a post office”. Selected for a lecture at the Cartoucherie, Theatre du Soleil in Paris 2015. Selected for the first festival of Contemporary Indian Theatre in Paris 2013. Made into a film that has been screened at various international theatre festivals and has won the special Jury award at the International Film Festival of Kerala 2012; Djinns of Eidgah: staged at Royal Court Theatre , London 2012 and part of Royal Court Theatre International Playwright’s residency 2012. Part of festival of Indian Plays (readings) at Royal Court. One of 9 plays from around the world at the PENN World Voices festival in New York 2014, it has been included in the drama program of New York University and UGC MA Literature program in India. This play is published by Oberon Books; Afterlife of birds: Selected for the International Theatre festival of Kerela 2012; Waterlines: A play with children on the partition of India. The play has been devised as a conversation between the young generation ( below 12) today and the generation that was pre-teen during the partition of India . It is also based on Urdu writer Sadat Hasan Manto’s story ‘ tetwal ka kutta’ ( The Dog of Tetwal)

Majumdar has trained in Delhi, Pondicherry and Bangalore. He also is an alumnus of the London International School of Performing Arts. Abhishek Majumdar has received the Charles Wallace trust Fellowship, The Inlaks Scholarship, The Lispa Scholarship and the Robert Bosch Arts Grant . He is a member of the Young Vic Director’s network, London and was at the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab in 2012.

He has taught Theatre programs at: NSD – National School of Drama, Delhi – Summer program; IIM – Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore; FTII – Film & Television Institute of India, Pune; Kathalaya, Bangalore; New York University, Abu Dhabi; Foundation for Liberal Arts and Management Education, Pune; Headstart Educational Academy, Bangalore; Mindscreen Film Institute, Chennai, HAL Management Institute , Infosys Leadership Institute and ITC. Abhishek is a visiting scholar at the New York University, Abu Dhabi Campus.


The Bangalore production:

#supernova, Indian Ensemble


Playwright – Rahul Rai

 Rahul is a poet, playwright, director and lighting designer. He has worked with theatre groups such as The Players, Yatrik in Delhi, and Motley in Mumbai. He is the Co-founder of T for Theatre.

He is an editor and contributor to Kachhikavita – an online journal of poetry in Hindi. He has worked as an Associate Director for the Acclaimed Documentary film Izzatnagari ki Asabhya Betiyan directed by Nakul Singh Sawhney.

His plays include Kaali Ghadi, Shoony Batta Sannata, Daalmot and Virah. His most recent play Outer Dilli for Writers’ Bloc 4 opened in Mumbai in April 2016.



Performer – Avneesh Mishra

 Avneesh is a theatre actor and director based in Mumbai, India. Having been smitten by acting from a young age in school, the roles he has essayed are many and diverse and include short films and  TV shows on National television

As a director, his most recent work includes Refund ,Teesveen Shatabdi, Sur vs Asur, and The Great Raja Master Company.

He is the founder of the popular theatre group Rangshila, in Mumbai.





Performer – Sandeep Shikhar

 Sandeep Shikhar has been a theatre practitioner for over two decades. He started theatre with Dastak Sanskritik Manch, Dhanbad 1993 and has trained as an actor from the Sri Ram Centre for Performing Arts in New Delhi.

As an actor, his credits include Gasha, Kaumudi, Muktidham and Main hoon Yusuf aur ye hai Mera Bhai. As a playwright, his Thook (co-written with Irawati Karnik) and Treadmill have been widely performed both in India and abroad.

He is a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, New York and received the Vinod Doshi Fellowship Award in 2016.