Natya Shodh Sansthan Theatre Museum

Natya Shodh Sansthan Theatre Museum, Kolkata

The Natya Shodh Sansthan Theatre Museum (NSS Museum) is India’s largest repository of archival material and documentation covering the entire history of Indian theatre. It’s Theatre and Heritage Libraries, the Audio, Video, Photograph, Records and Research & Publication sections have been collecting detailed information on theatre and documenting the growth and present trends of Indian Theatre. The museum’s collection would surely make the visitors curious and help them to acquaint with different aspects of India Theatre.

Location of Natya Shodh Sansthan Theatre Museum & Archives:

The Natya Shodh Sansthan Theatre Museum & Archives is located at Sector II of Salt Lake (Bidhan Nagar) in Kolkata.

Collection of Natya Shodh Sansthan Theatre Museum:

The Natya Shodh Sansthan Theatre Museum (NSS Museum) is equipped with materials in the form of photographs, Audio CDs, DVDs, Newspapers and Magazine – clippings, Masks, Costumes, Ornaments et al. Original manuscripts, letters, rare books, memorabilia of theatre productions, set models, posters and brochures belonging to the 19th Century make up its collection.

The museum collection comprises the Sanskrit, Folk and Modern Theatre Galleries, along with stand-alone panels and numerous exhibits. The Sanskrit Theatre Gallery consists photographs of performances based on Sanskrit playwrights, accessories used in ancient theatre performances, musical instruments, models of stage as envisaged by Bharat in his ‘Natya Shastra’, a life-size model of the Sutradhar, a diorama of Tapovan with Shakuntala and Kanwa Muni. Photos of Kudiyattam and its stage are also exhibited with suitable documentation.

The Theatre Gallery has photographs of several folk forms of India, costumes, musical instruments, Ramayana masks, Chhau masks, ornaments and a diorama depicting the abduction of Sita by Ravan.

The Modern Theatre Gallery has representations of theatre from the different states of the country through photographs, set-models and write-ups. A special display box contains rare books, manuscripts, sketches of sets, production scripts, etc. sourced from the archives of Sansthan. Two panels mime and disc-records are special attractions.

The lobby and the stair case contain various posters of plays, photographs of backdrops of plays belonging to the late 19th century, brochures of plays etc. Rajasthani puppets and puppets from Indonesia are special items.

Archive’s rich collection includes the entire collection of manuscripts, correspondence, newspaper clippings, etc., held by playwrights like late Manmatha Roy and Mohan Rakesh; a large collection of sketches, drawings, design and stage plans of eminent set-designer Khaled Choudhury; materials from theatre activist Harindra Nath Datta, Girish Karnad, Tapas Sen, playwright Nitish Sen and mime maestro Jogesh Datta.

Comprehensive individual documentations covering Girish Karnad, Vijay Tendulkar, Sombhu Mitra, Utpal Dutt, Badal Sircar, B.V. Karanth, Ebrahim Alkazi, Satyadev Dubey, Mohan Rakesh, Vijaya Metha, Manmatha Roy, Habib Tanveer, Shyamanand Jalan, B. Jayashree, Usha Ganguli, Amal Allana, Ratan Thiyam, H. Kanhai Lal.

The group and institution documentations comprise collections of Rangayan, IPTA, Bohurupee, Theatre Academy, Little Theatre Group, Peoples’ Little Theatre, Abhiyan, Little Ballet Troupe, Anamika, National School of Drama, Chorus Repertory Theatre, Ninasam.

History of Natya Shodh Sansthan Theatre Museum & Archives:

The Natya Shodh Sansthan was founded in 1981 and the museum section was inaugurated by Sri Pranab Mukhopadhyay, former President of India on 25th August 2019. It has been put up with assistance from the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India under the “Museum Grant Scheme”.


Collection details of Natya Shodh Sansthan Theatre Museum & Archives

  • 900 hrs. of individual interviews covering 600 theatre personalities
  • 300 hrs. of recorded proceedings of seminars etc.
  • 98 manuscripts/prompt copies of plays
  • 180 cyclostyled scripts and 18 Production Scripts
  • More than 2000, 78 r.p.m. discs / LP recordings
  • 1700 Audio Recordings
  • 1000 hrs. of video recording
  • 7000 books in following
  • 3590 theatre magazines
  • 1000 theatre folders
  • 33 theatre set models
  • 308 theatre posters
  • Over 500 newspaper clippings, including advertisements
  • 6000 stills and portraits
  • 35 Puppets
  • 39 Theatre Costumes
  • 406 Letters
  • 41 Micro Films