About Kalakshetra Manipur


Established on July 19, 1969 with Heisnam Kanhailal as founder-director, Kalakshetra Manipur (KKM) got registered under Societies’ Registration Act of 1860.

As KKM believes in a continuous process of ‘renewal of ancestral tradition’ for a contemporary cultural expression as the progeny of an ethno-socio tradition of Manipur. The artists of the group endeavour to learn afresh the native lore and cultural practices travelling throughout the nook and corner of Manipur strengthening its creative will. Along with the training and research programmes the group created remarkable performances that stood out as milestones of an original alternate theatre.

KKM has been at the forefront in researching in evolution of actor training process for live theatre under Kanhailal & Sabitri. The troupe has travelled far and wide across the globe showcasing some of its acclaimed plays to the global audience.

During its nearly five decades of journey, the group produced twenty plays of which the most outstanding directed by Kanhailal as TAMNALAI (The Haunting Spirit) in 1972, KABUI-KEIOIBA (Half man half tiger) in 1973, PEBET in 1975, LAIGI MACHASINGA (with children of God) in 1978, MEMOIRS OF AFRICA in 1986, MEEGI SHARANG (The Human Cage) in 1991, KARNA in 1997, DRAUPADI in 2000, DAKGHAR of Tagore in 2006 and UCHEK LANGMEIDONG (Langmeidong, the bird) in 2008.

Besides, the group launched cultural expedition in organising theatre events with the non-actors in three different socio-cultural contexts. They were : (i) performance of NUPI LAN (Women’s War of Manipur, 1939) in which women around one hundred from women’s market of Imphal town took active participation in December, 1989, (ii) at Umathel, a sleepy village in the remote corner of southern Manipur, SANJENNAHA (cowherd) was performed by the villagers themselves in December, 1979, and (iii) introduced theatre in the tribal area of Paite community of Churchandpur district with the production of THANGHOU LEH LIANDOU performed by tribal youths in March, 1980.

Since 2005 the group began its work in a transterritorial experience, moving out of its ethic culture, in the rural and natural environment of Assam and Tripura.