Performer, Director, Writer, Teacher.
Sanjay Kumar is a practitioner of activist theatre. As the founding President of pandies’ theatre and the director/chief facilitator of its productions and workshops from 1993 onwards, he has been creating performances with and for the marginalised in India for 30 years. He scripts and directs for the group (40 plays so far), for proscenium and protest theatre. Cleansing (2002) was staged in Manchester and Offtrack (2012) in New York.
His special contribution to the form and techniques of theatre is in the realm of Workshop Theatre. The mode has got him international acclaim. he has led Workshop theatre in Kashmir, Nithari, with survivors of domestic violence, with rescued children in shelters across India and with school drop outs, especially in the state of Rajasthan. This form uses stories from people in the margins, often enabling the margins to create their own theatre. Theatre that speaks to the mainstreams. His international honors include a residency of the Rockefeller Centre, Bellagio, Italy (2010) and being an invited participant of US Government’s most prestigious IVLP (International Visitors Leadership Program) – Promoting Social Change Through the Arts (2011).
He has scripted over 20 scripts, including five full length original scripts and adaptations: Ibsen’s Ghosts (1994), Beautiful Images (1995), Wedlock (2009), Offtrack (2012), Saadat Hasan Manto: Pagaleyan Da Sardar (2018). He has published in many journals, presented at many seminars and conducted over 100 workshops all over the world.
His publications include articles in the TDR (The Drama Review), including the globally discussed probe into the plight of boy sex workers in India [‘Performing on the Platform’. TDR: The Drama Review 57:4 (T220). New York: New York University, 2013]. He theorises and writes critical articles including those published in prestigious CSP publications (’Dramatising an Evolving Consciousness: Theatre with Nithari’s Children’. Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts 2011, ed. Daniel Meyer-Dinkgrafe. Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012) and recently in the online Borderless Journal. His book entitled, Exploring Play, The pandies’ Way: Performing, teaching and writing theatre in Delhi, contemporary India is under publication from Cambridge Scholars Publishing, UK.
Recipient of Delhi University’s (Vice Chancellor’s) Distinguished Teacher Award in 2009, he is an Associate Professor at the Department of English, Hans Raj College, University of Delhi and has been teaching there from 1984. As a teacher he specialises in the teaching of Drama (performance and text) and teaching of diverse Literary theories.
His Ph.D. thesis is largely a PaR (Performance as Research) on Activist theatre from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University.