Raj Besaria

Born in 1935 in Lakhimpur-Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, Shri Raj Bisaria took his M.A. in English in 1956. Subsequently, he worked for a diploma in theatre in Britain, receiving training in theatre direction, instruction, and adjudication under the British Theatre Association, London. A Professor of English at Lucknow University for many years, Shri Bisaria started his work in theatre with the Theatre Group in the University in 1962. In 1966 he established the Theatre Arts Workshop, which laid a special emphasis on theatre training. He went on to found the Bharatendu Natya Akademi in Lucknow in 1975, and set up its repertory company in 1992. Through sustained work with these groups, Shri Bisaria has actively promoted the cause of modern theatre in Uttar Pradesh. He has directed and acted in more than seventy plays in English by European and American playwrights, including Sheridan’s A School for Scandal, Shaw’s Candida, Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and Albee’s The Zoo Story. His productions of Indian playwrights in Hindi include Mohan Rakesh’s Adhe Adhure, Badal Sircar’s Baki Itihas, Adya Rangacharya’s Suno Janmejaya, and Dharamvir Bharati’s Andha Yug. Shri Bisaria has also acted in telefilms, television plays, and serials such as Manu Bhandari’s Aap ka Bunty, Badal Sircar’s Pagla Ghora, Raj se Swaraj directed by Amal Allana, and Ret Par Likhe Nam directed by Khalid Sultan. He has contribut- ed articles on theatre published in newspapers in India and Britain. Doordarshan has produced two documentary films on his work. Among other distinctions, Shri Bisaria has been honoured with the Padma Shri (1990). The Yash Bharati Award (1994) was conferred on him by the Government of Uttar Pradesh. Shri Raj Bisaria receives the Sanget Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to theatre as a director.