A Brief History of Agra’s Ranglok Theatre Group in Images

in Image Gallery
Published on: 15 June 2020

Sumit Chaturvedi

Sumit Chaturvedi is an independent journalist-researcher based in Agra, and writes regularly for Firstpost, The Wire, Polis Project, and Economic and Political Weekly. He also runs an online bilingual news and analysis platform by the name of Opinion Tandoor. He writes on politics, economy and culture, and their intersections.

Although the handicraft fair is the main attraction of the long-running annual city festival in Agra called the Taj Mahotsav, organised by the Uttar Pradesh tourism department, of late, many other cultural activities have come to be held under its aegis. In 2015, while going through the programme schedule of Taj Mahotsav, I chanced upon a theatre performance by a local theatre group, Ranglok Sanskritik Sansthan, at the Soorsadan auditorium, situated in the heart of the city. 

The play was staged quite professionally even though, as I learnt later, the group mainly comprised of amateur actors from the city trained by the Agra-based theatre artiste Dimpy Mishra. Mishra, who is an alumnus of Bhartendu Natya Academy in Lucknow, started this group in 2013, and since then has been training local theatre enthusiasts in various aspects of the art such as acting, direction, set design, etc. Besides staging performances from time to time at the Soorsadan auditorium, the group has also been trying to increase awareness and promote performing arts in the city.

The Ranglok group has completed almost a decade of existence. This image gallery tries to provide a glimpse of its evolution since 2017, the year in which it grew substantially as a theatre group, up to the year 2019, when it graduated from a bunch of amateur actors to a professional performing arts academy.