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In accordance with Niloufer Sagar’s wishes and with the establishment of the NSAPG (Niloufer Sagar Alumni Production Grant) by her family, we at DSM, are delighted to be part of honouring her memory by, henceforth, naming our alumni grant program after her.

The grant will facilitate the production of plays, giving budding playwrights and directors the chance of putting their creativity out there on the floor. This grant is designed to provide alumni theatre-makers an opportunity to apply the sum total of their learnings and experiences in the creation of new productions.

The program extends beyond financial support, with the DSM providing the alumni a robust system of mentorship, and a framework that will encourage rigour in the creative processes, essentially making it a lab of sorts in which productions are to be incubated.

The DSM is committed to building the corpus amount over the years, to ensure that the legacy Niloufer’s gift has started goes on to support many productions in the years to come.

by Himani Pant
by Himani Pant
by Manasi Bhawalkar & Ravi Kalra
by Manasi Bhawalkar & Ravi Kalra
by Meghna Roy Choudhury
by Meghna Roy Choudhury
by Rishika Kaushik
by Rishika Kaushik
by Vibhanshu Doshi
by Vibhanshu Doshi

Theatre and live arts producer and consultant, Niloufer Sagar had over two decades of experience working in arts management both in India and abroad. A strong strategic leader with a Master’s degree in Cultural Management and Policy from City University, London, her specialisations included theatre productions, festival management, commissioning of arts projects and site-responsive work.

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Throughout her career, Niloufer collaborated with various artists and organisations, leaving a significant impact on the arts scene. She got her start in the world of theatre with the Mumbai based theatre group Rage Productions helmed by Rajit Kapur, Rahul DaCunha and Shernaz Patel. She went on to work jointly on numerous productions, both as part of Rage and as an independent consultant. She had a close working relationship with Terence Lewis and his dance company as their COO on board, as well as with theatre-maker Yuki Ellias in the capacity of Producer, Dur Se Brothers. As part of the London-based producers Artevents, she produced the three year, path-breaking project of site-specific work The Re-Enchantment, in the UK, working closely with artists in theatre, film, publishing and conceptual art.

Niloufer had also managed the Jaipur Heritage International Festival (encompassing the very first edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival). Her contributions were felt through her impactful work executed in collaboration with prestigious institutions and theatre companies such as the British Council, the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai, Jindal Arts Centre, and Masque. One of Niloufer’s most renowned works was the award-winning solo act Elephant in the Room that was a quirky commentary on social and environmental realities.

Niloufer Sagar played an integral role at the Drama School Mumbai, and after that as part of the Foundation. She started with teaching, producing and entrepreneurship at the DSM, and quickly went on to being an advisor and mentor to the executive teams at the DSM. Prior to her passing, she was an active member of the DSM’s Managing Committee of the Drama School Mumbai as well as serving on its board. Her guidance and advice proved pivotal in helping the foundation successfully survive the pandemic, rejuvenate its board, build the DSMs new leadership team, and initiate the creation of Ekalavya.art, DSM’s e-learning program.

Those who knew Niloufer Sagar remember her as a dear friend, a patient mentor, and an enabler of inclusivity. She possessed a visionary approach as a producer, consistently striving to create meaningful and engaging experiences for audiences. Her dedication to the arts community was evident as she was always available and willing to lend her support and expertise to those who sought it, when they sought it.

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The DSM Alumni grant came from a small reserve of unspent funds remaining from the batch whose training got interrupted due to the pandemic. The pilot year was reserved for the batch of 2019-20. The second year onwards, the Alumni Production Grant program was opened to the entire community of DSM Alumni.

The grant is designed to provide alumni theatre-makers an opportunity to apply the sum total of their learnings and experiences in the creation of new productions that engender live performance, and ‘theatricality’.

The grant extends beyond financial support, with the DSM providing the alumni a robust system of mentorship, and a framework that encourages rigour in the creative process.

In the two annual cycles of grant making conducted thus far, 7 new productions were created.

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2021-22 (Pilot Year)

  • “Beds” Led by Alumni Lakshay Chawla.
  • “Inching Closer” Led by Phalguni Rao and Koyel Sahu

2022-23

  • “Stand Up: Storytelling Stories from Rajasthan” Led by Sikandar Khan.
  • “Paper Walls” Sharodiya Chowdhury.
  • “Baap Re” Led by Vaishnavi Ratna Prashant.
    “All Night Longg” Led by Shimlli Basu.
  • “I Killed My Mother, It Wasn’t My Fault” Led by Mallika Shah.
  • “Glitter” by Tanvee Ravi.
The productions from 2022-23 continue to perform at multiple small venues in Mumbai and other cities. The productions provide opportunities to multiple other theatre-makers and performers to work, grow, and hone their skills.

There is a huge need for opportunities for young groups to make work. And this starter grant helps these processes: 

  • Everytime a young group makes a play, the learning curve is high, and puts them on the road to having confidence, experience, and learning to make better and better plays. 
  • New voices, new ideas, new stories get added.
  • An opportunity is created to be seen and to show themselves through the work – giving them visibility for and opportunities in larger companies. 

This was very much part of Niloufer’s dream, to support and ensure that new work gets made and more and more people get involved in producing plays. And this initiative is a tribute to Niloufer’s vision.

Your contribution, no matter the size, is a significant step toward supporting the creation of new theatre productions and preserving Niloufer’s legacy.

Please consider making a donation today to the NSAPG to help continue to make a difference in the lives of young theatre makers. Your support would be highly appreciated.

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