Born in 1948 in Khardah, an industrial suburb of Calcutta, Shri Probir Guha read Economics and Political Science for his Bachelor’s degree from Calcutta University in 1968. A year later he formed his first theatre company, Naam Nahin, and created plays working with the group for two years. He subsequently worked with Bibhash Chakraborti and Badal Sircar in Calcutta, and was inspired by the latter’s example to look for new ways of doing theatre.
Moving back to Khardah, Shri Guha established a new company, Living Theatre, in 1977, and worked with unemployed local youth to create a theatre shaped by their own struggle and suffering. Since renamed Alternative Living Theatre, this company has developed a new aesthetics and forged new tools of expression, moving away from the linear narration, speech and movement of conventional drama. Performing in small towns and villages, the theatre has consistently attacked communalism, social obscurantism, oppressive social conventions, superstition and political apathy, while attempting to build new ideas and sow seeds of change in human minds. Shri Guha has directed more then fifty plays with his own company and other groups, performing widely in India and neighbouring countries. He continues to do experimental theatre with various marginalized groups such as landless peasants, juvenile offenders, and sex workers. His work has been lauded by leading minds in world theatre including Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski, and Eugenio Barba. He has had occasion to work with these masters abroad and has himself conducted workshops in Poland, Germany, and the United States.
Among other honours Shri Guha has received a Commemorative Award for People’s Theatre from the American Biographical Institute. Shri Probir Guha receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Indian theatre as a director.