E. Joychandra Singh

Shri Elangbam Joychandra Singh was born in 1927 at Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai in Imphal. A renowned figure in Manipuri theatre today, he started out as a singer in the traditional Natasankirtana at the age of fourteen. His teachers in this votive art were Gurus Gulapi Singh, Natun Singh, and Nimai Singh. Shri Joychandra Singh then joined the Manipuri Dramatic Union and was soon a leading actor in its productions. Discontented however with the limited reach of the Imphal theatre, he established the Manipuri Artistes Touring Drama Party which performed exten- sively in the villages of Manipur and in Cachar in Assam. In the countryside, he improvised a minimal stagecraft for his shows, designing sets, lighting, and sound at locations that were then not supplied with electric power. At once an actor, singer, playwright and director, Shri Joychandra Singh has produced more than sixty plays, of which Punshi Pamel, Shageigee Mou, Khanguthakki Chekla, and Kathokpa are the most acclaimed. He has written more than seventy plays and has also composed music and sung songs in numerous Manipuri productions. Despite amputation of a leg in 1957, Shri Joychandra Singh has conti- nued to work in the theatre using artificial support. Shri Joychandra Singh has been bestowed several prestigious awards in his home State. He received the Manipur State Kala Akademi Award in 1992, the Natya Bhushan award of the Manipur Sahitya Parishad in 1987, and the Fellowship of the Manipur State Kala Akademi in 2005. Shri Elangbam Joychandra Singh receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Indian theatre as a director.