Performing Arts Grant – Theatre 20-21



The Serendipity Arts Foundation’s Performing Arts Grant – Theatre was offered the creation of a new body of work in Theatre as per application guidelines. Due to the strength of the applications, 3 grantees were chosen by the Jury.


Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry and Rajiv Krishnan


Kiran Kumar is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher and writer. His work focuses on unpacking understandings of the human body-mind through a trifold practice of dance as art, science and ritual, and on proposals for change that these understandings hold for our contemporary world. Rooted primarily in his somatic practices of Haṭha-Vinyasa yoga and traditional Indic temple dancing, his research unfolds through critical, conceptual and artistic inquiries into premodern Indic cosmologies and cosmotechnics. In his works, these transdisciplinary inquiries come to dialogue with pressing personal and planetary problems, through performance, writing, video, installation and archiving as modes of publication.

Following initial study in mechanical engineering at National University of Singapore (2016), he holds an MFA in new media art from City University of Hong Kong (2012) and an MA in dance from Inter-University Centre for Dance Berlin (2014). Since 2015 his independent artistic research has been supported by the National Arts Council Singapore, Dance Nucleus (Singapore), Centre42 (Singapore), Einstein Foundation, Literary Colloquium Berlin and Robert Bosch Foundation. Recent research fellowships include Berlin Centre for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences (2106-18), and Volkswagen Foundation’s ‘Arts & Science in Motion’ program (2016-19). He is currently based in Bengaluru.

Grant Proposal:
Archipelago Archives Exhibit #9: DEAR DEAD DOCTOR

This is a letter to my paternal grandfather, A.M. Śivarāman (1902-1976). In 2016 I chanced upon one of his personal diaries; the many blank pages at the end of that diary call out to me to reach out to him for the first time. He was the first to be educated as a doctor of allopathic medicine in his family, a field in which my father and sister would follow, until it finds discontinuity in me, a dancer. But it would be naive to consider this the first discontinuity here for, in order to study western medicine, the doctor would have had to disinherit extant Indic knowledges of the human body-mind. This work of digital and documentary theatre wonders if his progeny could in turn re-inherit these knowledges through an artistic-scientific engagement with traditions of yoga and temple dancing. This address to the doctor is conceived in the theatrical voice and digital presence of his great-great-grandchild: a parthenogenetic-proto-progenic being, materialized via digital holography. (P3B) may well be a rebuttal to dominant Euro-American conceptions of artificial intelligence, based largely on a materialistic science that only conceives consciousness as a consequence of matter. Spanning across a better part of the twentieth century, the life and time of the doctor offer a surface upon which to ask and answer questions that at once implicate private histories and shared futures.

Savita Rani is a graduate of National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi (2008), with specialization in acting. Working as a researcher and practitioner as an actor, director, actor’s trainer in theatre. Recently She has completed her Ph.D. from the Department of Performing Arts, Pondicherry University on title ‘A Study on Devised Solo Theatre in India’.

She has worked with eminent theatre personalities like Anuradha Kapur, Anamika Haksar, Tripurari Sharma, K. S. Rajendran, Abhilash Pillai, Amitesh Grover, Suresh Anagali, Harish Khanna, Vivan Sundram, Roysten Abel, Khalid Tyabji, Jyoti Dogra etc. Her work has given her opportunity to travel to countries like Peru, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Austria, Bangladesh, Japan, Thailand, and England. During her research work, she devised a solo theatre piece ‘RIP: Restlessness in Pieces’ and travelling with it all over India and abroad.

Grant Proposal: 
‘Notion(s)’ as a concept emerged from the efforts to understand the socio-political situations occurring all around the world. We are connected to the world mostly through our defined identities and keep using all kinds of notions to defend, save and amplify our identities influenced by the socio-economic power equations based on religion, region, caste, gender, complexion, race, nationality, color, body structure etc. Hence, Notions are the very important aspect of the power structure that never allows us to interrogate or question the contemporary functionality of notions within us. Notions like purity, superiority, strength and power are getting traded in this business run by our respective societies. And it becomes extremely difficult to address these notions as they are intangible. Can we see them? Can we figure them out? Can we stop them? This invisible enemy is growing and getting bigger at an astounding pace, every passing moment. And it is churning and growing inside all of us, without any exception.

Victor Thoudam is a performance maker, actor, poet, director and dance enthusiast. He was actively involved in the campus theatre of Delhi University during his graduation. Then he was enrolled in the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi in the year 2009 completing in 2012 specializing in acting. He completed his fellowship program awarded by NSD with Kalakshetra, Manipur under the guidance of Late Heisnam Kanhaila and Ema Sabitri. He is also the Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarship awardee for his further studies in London International School of performing Arts, (LISPA), 2015-16, now Arthaus Berlin. After LISPA he came back to Imphal, Manipur in early 2017 and started running a theatre group called ‘Akhoka Ensemble’.

He is interested in creating contemporary conceptual performances. He has conceptualized, designed and directed two theatre productions ‘It’s a Myth’ in 2017 and ‘Black and White’ in 2018 with Akhoka Ensemble, which participated in many national and international theatre festivals. He started a physical poetry series in the YouTube channel in collaboration with Five Senses Theatre, Mumbai. He focuses on the body as a medium of embodying deep intense psychophysical impact from his contemporary world.

Grant Proposal: 
The project will focus in the global phenomenon of political displacement, taking reference to the Nepali speaking Bhutanese refugees called the Lhotsampas. It aspires to explore how a body would respond to a path when the flow is being obstructed intensifying the outcome? Why people become refugees? What are the devastating blows and hardship to those residing in the refugee camps?  And as a global citizen how do we understand its causes?

The project would be developed through research, devising and collaboration highlighting the precarious human conditions. It envisions a contemporary psychophysical performance using sound effects, new media and installation etc. that could be adapted in conventional and unconventional spaces.

All 2019 Grants