Garrison Theatre in Colonial India

Issues of Valuation


Reconstructing the theatrical past has never been more challenging: the terms ‘history’ and ‘theatre’ have both seen a vast expansion of meaning and reference. Debates in historiography have questioned the nature of key aspects like evidence, narrative and objectivity. History of the theatre, which examines the ephemeral along with the material, has become more complex. And though the ambit of both the historical and theatrical has expanded, grand narratives have become suspect and it is the delimited micro-histories which seem to catch the essence. It is the fragments, painstakingly assembled, which often provide the insight to define the whole. While the search for the complete picture of the past may be chimerical, a search for it nevertheless becomes imperative, particularly in post-colonial societies where there will be many competing aspects and points of view of the whole. Events and evidences thus acquire a dual nature, and facts accumulate their significance and value according to how they are marshalled. Hence an ethical discrimination and duty towards the several players concerned becomes incumbent upon post-colonial theatre historiography, which needs more than the usual deftness and sensitivity.


Colonial Period Late Eighteenth Century Amateur Actor Western Theatre Indian Theatre 
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© Poonam Trivedi 2016

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