Nationalism and modernity played a crucial role in creating the sense of modern Indian theatre in colonial India. Both, with mutual association, functioned together to locate theatre in Indian context as a subject which require domain knowledge and proficiency in practice different from the ongoing models. The efforts towards this initiated by the cultural and theatre activists (nationalists) were focusing on generating theatre literacy among the discerned. The southern region of India was not exposed to the idea of modern theatre unlike in Calcutta (Kolkata) or Bombay (Mumbai). There were series of discussions and talks organised by the Amateur Dramatic Association (ADA) in Bangalore to locate theatre as a subject in Indian context. My presentation would be on the two talks organised by ADA in 1818 and 1919 delivered by C. Ramalinga Reddy and James H Cousins respectively, which are not reflected in any of the written historical documents on theatre in India.
Professor Balakrishnan Ananthakrishnan is a professor in the Department of Theatre Arts, Sarojini Naidu School of Arts & Communication, University of Hyderabad.