Founded in 1985 by Sunil Shanbag, Arpana Theatre is known for their ability to add an Indian contemporary exterior to classical literature.
Arpana Theatre's work is characterised by contemporary and original texts by Indian and international playwrights (in translation), strong performances, minimalist staging, and innovative use of music and design.
Sunil Shanbag is man of many talents, with an illustrious career as a theatre director, screen-writer and documentary film-maker. Although he didn’t have any formal training in theatre, he has worked extensively with Satyadev Dubey who considers him one of his foremost protégés. In 2007, Shanbag directed the critically acclaimed Cotton 56, Polyester 84. In 2012, Shanbag was invited to perform a Gujarati adaptation of All’s Well That Ends Well as part of the Globe to Globe festival in London.
Enchanting its audience through the raw power of a performance, Arpana Theatre has staged a variety of plays over the years, such as Cotton 56, Polyester 84 and S*x M*rality & Cens*rship. The play was well received in the UK press, with The Guardian giving it a four-star rating, and the Arts Desk stating, "Shakespeare's problem play is solved by a buoyant Gujarati staging from Mumbai." Titled Maro Piyu Gayo Rangoon in India, the play had previously premiered in Mumbai, with veteran theatre critic Shanta Gokhale describing it as "a truly remarkable achievement". In 2014, the play was invited back to the Globe for another run of shows in a month that marked the 450th birth anniversary of Shakespeare.