Bombay Theatre Company's founder Raveesh Jaiswal opens up on performing live theatre productions on social media

Bombay Theatre Company is a young theatre company based in Mumbai, founded in late 2019. They were supposed to stage their first theatre production in April 2020 in Mumbai. But unfortunately, due to the pandemic, they couldn’t.

They then migrated to an online platform and chose to do quick 10 minute live theatre productions on their Instagram page. Their first theatre production was watched LIVE by over 60 people and then by over 2500 people on IGTV. Their plays were well received by audiences and they loved the snackable 10 minute format of entertainment. The company also started receiving a lot of requests for collaboration.

Keeping that in mind and also with the aim of providing a creative outlet to performers, they recently launched a collaborative theatre initiative – ‘The Theatre Project’

Bombay Theatre Company's founder Raveesh Jaiswal opens up on performing live theatre productions on social media

Q. Your background, where were you born and studied.

I have always been interested in the arts and had picked up Tabla at a very young age of 8. Till date am quite in touch with it and am really proud to say that at least I know one music instrument thoroughly! Theatre bug bit me late, at the age of 17 to be precise. I am also a State and University level Lawn Tennis player and love the sport dearly.

I was born and raised in Nagpur. After pursuing my Civil Engineering degree from Nagpur University, I moved to Mumbai to pursue my Masters’ Degree in Human Resources Management & Labour Relations from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

Q. Any specific courses you did with regards to Theatre? If yes, please share details

My basic theatre training happened at Stagecraft Theatre, Nagpur. That gave me a fruitful foundation to further pursue professional courses in the field. I completed a certification course in acting from Barry John Acting Studio, Mumbai and also hold a certification in film acting from International School of Screen Acting, London

Q. What led to the start of the Bombay Theatre Company?

Bombay Theatre Company was a result of an earnest desire to have a venture of my own. Having read about entrepreneurship in my growing years, it really left a deep impact on me and somewhere down the line I was sure, that someday I will take the ‘plunge’. Also having a post graduate degree in Management from TISS & a corporate experience of over 5 years provided a strong learning foundation for the execution of this desire. I was fortunate enough to work and intern with some of the prominent corporate brands of India. I was able to experience & pick up the ground meaning of management jargons like – teamwork, strategy, leadership, empathy et all.

Q. What was the purpose behind starting the theatre company?

I have always been interested in doing cross culture and cross border work. With my company, I wish to collaborate with some like-minded people from India and abroad & create an impact in the arts fraternity around the globe.

Bombay Theatre Company's founder Raveesh Jaiswal opens up on performing live theatre productions on social media

Q. Team Strength and plans for expansion in India and Internationally

As of now the core team comprises of me and my wife. We were fortunate enough to collaborate with around 30 playwrights and actors across the country when we executed our digital theatre festival - ‘The Theatre Project’ in the late 2020. Most of them have been in touch with us and some of them have even worked with us again on our recent projects. Apart from them the team comprises of my old, trusted & frequent collaborators from my Nagpur theatre days.

We also have a dedicated PR consultant in the team who helps us manage our media presence. We are quite active on working with interns, especially in our Marketing department. We hire interns from institutes and they usually work with us for 2-3 months on various live projects. As of now we are working with two extremely talented interns. One is from Symbiosis Centre for Media & Communication, Pune and the other one is from MICA, Ahmedabad

We await the debut of our first on stage production ‘The 6pm Struggler’ which is to be staged in late April 2021 in Mumbai. Depending on the audiences’ response we wish to travel with this play to some other cities of India. On international front, we already have done a digital play in New York with American actors and the experience was quite enriching. One of my long-term goal is to also take my plays physically to cities like London, New York City and Edinburgh.

Q. Any upcoming international plays planned like 'The Covid-19 Do over marriage'?

The Covid-19 Do Over Marriage written by New York based writer, Sarah Congress was our first international collaboration and we are definitely looking forward to many more. There have been playwrights & actors from Argentina and US who had reached out to me, but as of now nothing is materialised. We are quite busy with the preparations of our first physical play and will consider another international collaboration only post staging that.

Instagram profile: Bombay Theatre Company

Q. Details about Rang Manch

We take pride in being one of the most active Indian theatre companies amidst the pandemic. Our theatre festival - ‘The Theatre Project’ invited applications from over 250 theatre enthusiasts across the country and all the 10 plays have a combined viewership of over 20,000 on Instagram. We were happy that we were able to provide a much-needed platform to the artists during the peak of the pandemic in the country. Extending the same philosophy of providing an opportunity, we decided that we will cater to the theatre societies across the country, as they actually hold up a lot of budding theatre talents of the future. Unfortunately, many of them were dormant in this time as colleges were shut. We wanted to give them a reason to perform!

Q. Are you planning more such initiatives for the students/audience who are interested in Theatre?

Post the success of the first year of our theatre festival, we will be planning the second version of the same this year. We are yet to decide whether we will again go digital or stage plays physically in Mumbai but we are working on the same. The festival is sure to have new people working with us. It’s one of our major sources of working and experimenting with new talent. We will be also conducting some workshops in Mumbai after a few months.

Bombay Theatre Company's founder Raveesh Jaiswal opens up on performing live theatre productions on social media

Q. What do you think are the work opportunities for Indians when it comes to Theatre in India?

Theatre has never been a lucrative career opportunity for actors in India, but it is the most sincere one. As they rightly say, theatre is the only factory for actors. I feel that this is the best time to be a theatre actor in India. The new age of OTT platforms is successfully experimenting with the theatre talent and is able to give due credit to their craft. Name some of the best OTT Indian actors and am sure over 3 quarters of them, are from the stage.

Q. Things you would like to change about Indian Theatre?

How I wish, I could make Indian theatre more commercially viable for all of us!

Q. Future plans and collaborations

Apart from staging our first play in Mumbai in April, as a company, we will also diversify from the entertainment business and add another business vertical which will focus on developing niche theatre-based training products/ modules for the corporate houses.

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