Sharmila Pinki Ghoshal, NJ

Sharmila Pinki Ghoshal is the founder/director of Manjari School of Performing Artsand a well-known Guru of North Indian classical music in the tri-state area. As an internationally-acclaimed vocalist and a New Jersey Council on The Arts grant recipient, Sharmila strives to disseminate Indian culture in the U.S.A. She is a senior disciple of the legendary maestro Pandita Girija Devi of Benaras gharana. Sharmila’s background includes being a member of the prestigious repertory theater Bohurupee, at the age of 4 and training with theater legends, Tripti and Sombhu Mitra. Sharmila performed in notable plays with the company, such as Putul-khela, Raktakarabi, Muktodhara, Raaja Oeidipous, and Pagla-Ghora.

Brinda Guha, NY

Brinda has been learning classical Kathak dance for 20 years with Kalamandir of NJ from her mother, Smt. Malabika Guha. She has been invited to perform solo throughout the US and has done solo and group performances in England and India. She has been in a number of dance dramas produced by Malabika Guha and in 2005 wrote and directed her own dance production entitled “RISE,” based on the poems of Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes. Brinda also performed in Badal Sircar’s “Pagla Ghora”, directed by celebrated filmmaker, Amol Palekar, and debuted in theater at The South Asian Theater Festival’s staging of “Red Oleanders” and “The Little Clay Cart” (2009, 2010).

Brinda has also learned classical Manipuri dance in Kolkata, India from Guru Kalavati Devi. Since 2007, Brinda has studied Flamenco in NYC under Dionisia Garcia, and also began her Contemporary training under renowned teachers and choreographers at Broadway Dance Center. Since early 2014, Brinda led up the New York City branch of Kalamandir Dance Company. They have performed at Gowanus Arts Center, Broadway Dance Center, Actor’s Fund Arts Center, Secret Theater, Brooklyn Dance Festival, NYCDA Dance Festival, and more.

Malabika Guha, NJ

Malabika Guha grew up in Kolkata and Shantiniketan, India where her training of more than two decades in Creative and Kathak dance began. She is a disciple of Guru Bela Arnob in Kolkata, India and was a student under Amala Shankar at Uday Shankar India Cultural Center where she was also in the advanced tour troupe. In 1986, Malabika founded Kalamandir of New Jersey, a dance school based in kathak and creative dance. She received recognition of excellence in Community leadership in 1989 from the Mayor of Jersey City and in 2014 at the North American Bengali Conference in Orlando. She has traveled with her school throughout the US and with her advanced troupe to India, London, Canada, Spain as well as throughout the US.

Leif Persson, Sweden

Director, actor and regional coordinator of theatre at the Riksteatern Värmland (Sweden), Leif has a long experience in theatre and has been active in a large variety of the country’s independent theatre and institutions. Until the late 1990s, he was the chairman of the theatre centre for independent theaters nationally. In recent years he has been actively contributing to stage artists of other ethnicities so they get the opportunity to establish themselves in the country. Sitarah is such a project.

Anshita Kumar, MD

Anshita is a resident artist at The SAPAN Institute. Apart from directing Here We Are, Anshita played the role of Ameena in For the Love of Cricket, performed at the Artomatic in 2012. She is also part of SAPAN’s performance within the Beyond Bollywood exhibit at Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum running from July 18th – August 15th 2015.

Anshita’s passion for acting and directing began at Welham Girls School in India at the age of 10. She wrote and directed a play heavily inspired by the turmoil’s of love, as described by the Sweet Valley High series. During her time at Welham, she participated in numerous competitions within her school, at the District and National level. She acted in, and directed many of Shakespeare plays, her favorite being Hamlet and Julius Caesar. These plays won the Inter-House Drama Competition. She was the Student Director on an adaptation of Natirpuja, by Rabindranath Tagore, which won first place in the District Level School Drama competition. She also acted in, co-wrote and directed, 1942 A Family Story, a one-act play which won Best Play in the All India Public Schools’ Cultural Festival 2001. Her most notable productions were during Welham’s Annual Founders’ Day Celebrations in 2002 & 2001. In 2001, she co-directed an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. In 2002, she was the Student Director on an adaptation of Mahabharata, which included a cast of more than 40 students who also doubled as massive human props. Anshita participated in numerous acting workshops, most notably one conducted by Ratna Pathak Shah.

Farley Richmond, GA

Farley Richmond is Professor and Director of the Center for Asian Studies at University of Georgia, Athens, GA. Dr. Richmond teaches courses in Asian Theatre, with an emphasis in Indian drama and theatre. He also teaches courses in introduction to theatre, script analysis, and directing. His publications include: Kutiyattam: Sanskrit Theater of India, (CD-ROM University of Michigan Press), Indian Theatre: Traditions of Performance, (University of Hawaii Press), and Theatre: The Collaborative Art and Plays of Provocation, Vols. I and II (Kendall/Hunt). His articles appear in The Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre, The Cambridge Guide to World Theatre, The Cambridge Guide to Asian Theatre, as well as the Asian Theatre Journal, among others. His most recent productions wereAntigone, Art, The Playboy of the Western World, and The Crucible at UGA and Oleanna at SUNY-Stony Brook. He is a founding member of the Asian Theatre Journal for which he serves as South Asia Area Editor. He is currently on the Board and Vice President of the World Association for Vedic Studies. He has chaired the theatre departments at Michigan State University, SUNY/Stony Brook, and The University of Georgia.

Hafiz Karmali, Paris

Hafiz Karmali is a Paris based international theatre director who favors a highly stylized form of dance-theatre that is often inspired by art history and devotional literature. For example, Ali to Karim: A Tribute to the Ismaili Imams, a docu-drama that tells the story of the Aga Khan and his ancestors. Karmali regards drama as an act of prayer. This is not to say that his work is without humor.

On the contrary, Hafiz believes Muslims today take themselves too seriously and should “get a sense of humor!” Mr. Karmali’s Rumi x 7 = Tales from the Masnavi (Golden Thread Productions) is performed in circus style featuring clowns and acrobats.

After pursuing his MFA (Directing) at Carnegie Mellon University, Hafiz served an apprenticeship at the American Repertory Theatre where he assisted internationally renowned directors Robert Wilson and Andrei Serban. While at the A.R.T., he was a Teaching Fellow in the English Department at Harvard University for courses taught by Professor Robert Brustein.

Most recently, Hafiz directed Invasion! by Jonas Hassen Khemiri and Post Office by Rabindranath Tagore. Last fall, Hafiz staged the Sufi fable Conference of the Birds at Brandeis University Theatre Department.

In 2013, Mr. Karmali’s encounter with South Asian performing artists based in New York City culminated in M.A.D. Playhouse’s production of Half-Hearted by Mohan Rakesh (Cherry Lane Theatre).

A complete biography is available on his website.

Parthapratim Deb, Kolkata

Parthapratim Deb has a long association with theater in India, having been an actor, musician and director with the famed Nandikar group of Kolkata. He has directed and acted in award-winning one act and full-length plays, such as Sojan Badiyar Ghat, Gotraheen,Nana Ranger Din, Jaha Chai, Madhabi, Naachni, Sagina Mahato and Choredero Lajja Holo. He has directed many theater workshops involving both adults and children. Trainer in various Projects of Nandikar. Regular dramatics teacher of G D Birla Girls’ High School (a division of Ashok Group of schools, India).

Abhik Chatterjee, India

Abhik Chatterjee started his theatrical journey as the founder/director of theater group, Anushtup in Purulia, in 1970. After years of directing and acting in plays, he joined a Jatra group, Kolkata Jatra Samaj and performed 150 shows of Hamlet with Lolita Chatterjee and Shyamal Ghosh and toured extensively through the interior villages of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Orissa. In 1978, he joined Nandimukh, and under the direction of Ajitesh Banerjee, acted in Paap Punya, an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s play, The Power of Darkness. He then performed in Sher Afghan, and played the lead role in Ajitesh Banerjee’s last, brilliant production, Tetrishtomo Janmodibash, a Bengali adaptation of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party to much critical acclaim. In 1984, he founded the theater group, Amitryachchanda and directed a successful production of Ekti Rajnoitik Hotya, a Bengali adaptation of Peter Weiss’s play, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, and played the role of Sade. He has been a voiceover artist in films, a radio artist, an elocutionist, a script writer for television serials, and acted in television films like Rang, Bikalpo directed by Utpalendu Chakraborty, feature film Janala directed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Antardahon. In 1998, he also staged a charming rendition of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, adapted into Bangla by Ajitesh Banerjee tilted, Pakhi. He has also acted in Teen Poishar Pala and Sher Afghan in lead roles with Ajitesh Natya Academy and performed hundreds of shows of one-act plays, Nana Ranger Din, Tamaku Sheboner Apakarita and Prastab (Anton Chekhov).

Subhasis Das, New Jersey

Subhasis is an energetic experimental theater practitioner. He has been trained in different forms of theater from his childhood in Santiniketan, India. His theater practice found a new avenue of expression when he started working with the legendary playwright Badal Sircar. Subhasis was then introduced to the “third theater movement”—a theater that defied the notions of a structured space or the proscenium stage and reached out to the audience, making the audience an integral part of the theater. Subhasis was trained in different workshop techniques and methods and has been putting them into practice in the many plays that he has directed, to much critical acclaim, in India as well as in the USA. His systematic workshop process helps explore the body, space, sound and the mind. Through unique theater games and improvisation techniques, Subhasis likes to unravel the layers of characterization and situation. Subhasis attempts to provide a true alternative theater experience.