KathaSiyah is a Bangalore-based theatre group formed by Karen D’Mello and Sunayana Premchander in 2015. KathaSiyah’s vision is to tell stories with perspectives and narratives that are not included in mainstream discourse and don’t always make it to centre stage. The group focuses on work rooted in contemporary Indian politics and social debates with a deliberate re-centering of gender issues. The work is grounded in research and engages rigorously with other performing arts. KathaSiyah works in multiple languages with audiences ranging across the socio economic spectrum. Previous works include Taramandal (Hindi and English) Gidagiduga (Kannada) and 3 (English). In early 2016, it was registered as a trust and received formal registration and recognition with the Income Tax department starting April 2017.
Karen D’ Mello is a Bangalore-based theatre director and facilitator. She co-founded KathaSiyah, which works primarily with young and emerging artists. A lot of her work is drawn from the lived experiences of women. As a director, her world includes the award-winning play ‘Taramandal’ (written by Neel Chaudhuri) and ‘Gidagiduga’ (written by Swati Simha). Her theatre training includes an intensive Director’s Program and Writer’s Program under the mentorship of eminent playwright and director, Abhishek Majumdar, former Artistic Director of Indian Ensemble. Karen also facilitates theatre workshops for children, young adults and teachers, in schools and colleges. Prior to this, Karen spent two years travelling to different performing art spaces in India and learning about the arts through a self-designed learning program with Swaraj University, Udaipur. She is a fellow of The DO School, Hamburg. Her previous work experience includes IT and Advertising. She has an Engineering degree in Electronics and Telecommunications.
Sunayana Premchander is a young artist, an aspiring playwright and dancer from Bangalore. In college, she was actively involved in theatre-directing, performing, and travelling with college productions. She spent six months mentoring children from Teach For India and interned for two months at Indian Ensemble Theatre. After graduation, she worked in Bangalore, handling production and backstage work. Through 2016, she was assistant director on the Indian Ensemble Studio Initiative. In August 2015, she co-founded Kathasiyah with Karen D’mello. From October to December 2015, Sunayana worked as a team leader of International Citizen Service, a cultural exchange program run by Pravah, Delhi and VSO UK. She joined Indian Ensemble’s Writer’s Program in August 2015, and “3” is her first play, developed over the course of the program. 3 opened at Jagriti Theatre in August 2017. Sunayana underwent intensive training in the Indian Ensemble’s Director’s Training Program, 2017-2018. Her most recent play as a Director is Girish Karnad’s Nagamandala in Malayalam, that opened at Ranga Shankara as a final presentation of the program.
Learn more about KathaSiyah on our Productions page.
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