Born in 1939 in Imphal, Shri Lokendra Arambam received his initial training in theatre arts at Imphal’s Aryan Theatre under Shri Maynglambam Biramangol and Haobam Ibungoyaima. Acquiring a PhD, he chose an academic career, teaching history in colleges in Manipur from 1960 to 1989. From that year up to 1997, he headed the Audio-visual Research Centre of Manipur University. He has researched on ritual traditions of Manipur and Manipur’s tribal performing arts between 1985 and 1989 under projects sponsored by the Ford Foundation.
Together with academic work, Shri Arambam has pursued a parallel career in theatre, and has won recognition as a leader in the alternative theatre in Manipur. He has been concerned in his work with the problems of political violence, insurgency, and underdeve- lopment in Manipur, and has sought to build up through his theatre a political sensibility that responds to these problems. He has directed about thirty plays for Aryan Theatre and the Forum for Laboratory Theatres of Manipur, among which are Khuman Chakha Moireng Ngamba (1982), Phouibi Langon (1987), Macbeth — Stage of Blood (1997), and Awang Nongpok Lamgee Nawaa (1998-2000). Shri Arambam has also directed a documentary film on Pebet (1985), a play by the Manipuri director H. Kanhailal, and a second film on the Meira Paibee of Manipur, Soldiers in Sarong (2003).
He has participated in theatre seminars and work- shops in India and abroad, and has led various groups of Manipuri performers to festivals overseas. He has written on Manipur’s theatre in periodicals including Sangeet Natak and has contributed to books on theatre. A film on his work has been produced by Audio Visual Arts, Kolkata.
Shri Lokendra Arambam receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribu- tion to theatre as a director.