Actor / Facilitator
Nagina is an actor and facilitator from Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. She has performed in over 12 plays and is a founding member of Aagaaz. She has been involved in arts based work with multiple communities, including Nizamuddin Basti, Khirkee and Badarpur Jaitpur. Other than theatre she has been facilitating co-leading Aagaaz’s sessions on gender and sexuality through Darpan. Nagina has been a fellow with People for Parity, YP Foundation and the American State Department. She is a final year student at Aurobindo College, where she is pursuing B.A. Programme.
Actor / Facilitator/ Musician
Shahid is a founding member of Aagaaz Theatre Trust and is a part of its Core Group of theatre practitioners. He has performing professionally in plays from the organization’s repertoir since 2015. As an actor and co-facilitator, he has been a part of plays that have performed in theatre festivals, school, public performance venues, public spaces, and many national level events. Always a smile on his face and willing to listen, he is also one to speak his mind, even if that means challenging voices of authority in any space. Over the years we have seen Shahid pause every once in a while to reflect on who he is and where he is headed. He is never afraid to face his faults and always ready to embrace aspects of himself. He is intelligent and hardworking as a performer and always willing to go back to the drawing board.
Actor / Facilitator
Zainab is the chirpy member of the group, who has a wide range of interests. She enjoys theatre, singing, dancing, sketching, fashion, travelling and engaging with conversations around gender and sexuality. She has been with Aagaaz since 2009, and looks at theatre as a free space that allows her to express her feelings and helps her navigate the world. She is currently studying Home Science at Lady Irwin College in DU. She is keenly interested in engaging with facilitation, as she believes in the unifying power of creating spaces that nurture common experience.
Actor/ Facilitator/ Director
Muzammil is a founding member of Aagaaz Theatre Trust. He has performing professionally in plays from the organization’s repertoir since 2015. As an actor and co-director, he has been a part of plays that have performed in theatre festivals, school, public performance venues, public spaces, and many national level events. He continues to surprise all the facilitators with his astute sense of stagecraft and his engagement with theatre as a language. He is also quite exceptional in terms of his abilities as a director and a leader. On multiple occasions he has facilitated creative processes with Aagaaz, the last being a new version of our constantly adapted production Duniya Sabki – taking a close look at demonetisation and what it meant for people around him. He chose to work with the language of physical theatre rather than words to tell the story.
A while back, he made it to Zakir Hussain College’s BA Programme course through ECA quota in Theatre. He learning to be a theatre maker and facilitator.
Actor / Facilitator
Jasmine is one of the most confident and quirky actors at Aagaaz, who started doing theatre in 2012, because her father was interested in the art form. Currently, she acknowledges it as a medium that allowd her to recognize her own talent and potential. She is quite interested in working with younger children, and wants to help them find their passion. At the moment, she is studying BA(Hons.) in Political Science and also likes to spend her time sketching, drawing and cooking.
Actor / Facilitator/ Lights Operator
Ismail Sheikh is a founding member at Aagaaz Theatre Trust. He has performing professionally in plays from the organization’s repertoire since 2015. As an actor and co-director, he has been a part of plays that have performed in theatre festivals, school, public performance venues, public spaces, and many national-level events. Ismail is possibly the most sincere and hardworking member of the core group of Aagaaz. He has grown into a confident performer with an exceptional talent when it comes to movement-based work. He played one of the lead roles in Raavan Aaya, and while his performance was exceptional, what stood out was his ability to reflect on the play and his character. At 18, his ability to think critically along with his knowledge of history and current goings-on in the world would make him an asset to any theatre group/ company. If not in a theatre workshop, he is very often found debating something or the other with any group of people willing to engage.
A while back, he made it to PGDAV College’s BA Programme course through ECA quota in Theatre. He is learning to be a theatre maker and facilitator.
Actor / Facilitator
Saddam has been with Aagaaz since 2009, and is now practicing theatre and exploring work opportunities. He has finished his schooling and is mostly found listening to music, drawing or playing cricket. He is passionate about theatre because it exposes him to a world outside his milieu. Theatre facilitation with young children is one of Saddam’s roles in the organisation.
Actor / Facilitator
Nagma is one of the younger powerhouses in the group. She has been with Aagaaz since 2011 and loves singing, dancing, embroidery and of course- theatre. She expresses that theatre offers her a new world, that has a set of rules that are different from those in real life. This allows her to do the things, she would otherwise not be able to do. She has finsihed her 10th standard board exams and is already trying to delve deep into facilitation, since she values the give and take relationship it creates.
Aslam started doing theatre three years ago and worked at himself tremendously. His presence on stage has been valuable in both Duniya Sabki and Raavan Aaya. While acting remains one of his major interests, he is also a sportsperson and thoroughly enjoys playing rugby.
Founder & Artistic Director
Sanyukta identifies as an applied theatre practitioner. She primarily works with children and young people through drama to imagine and discover ways of acting to work towards their realisation. She has a postgraduate degree from the University of Leeds in Theatre and Development Studies. She has been mentored in her journey to strengthen Aagaaz by Unlimited Delhi, ARThink South Asia and Changelooms Fellowship. Her journey in applied theatre includes working with pandies’ theatre, Aga Khan Foundations Nizamuddin urban renewal Initiative, and Theatre Professionals Education. She currently also facilitates the practicum modules of theatre and self development work at the B.El.Ed Programme in Delhi University’s Institute of Home Economics. She is also an actor and has been devising shows and performing them for young audiences in the age range of 6 months to 8 years of age.
The Facilitator's Collective
Subhadra aka Subu is a musician, theatre practitioner
and facilitator, who has been working with young
people using music and theatre (and whatever else she
can lay her hands on) for the past decade or so. She is
passionate about using the arts to talk about important
things inside and outside us. She has 10 years of
experience in the field having worked with The Yuva Ekta Foundation, Music Basti and
Black Box Okhla. She is also associated with One World College of Music.
Swapnika is a facilitator and educator, with a special interest in integral education which lays its foundation in experiential learning. She has completed her PG Diploma in teacher training with I am a Teacher and has also attended Shiv Nadar University’s Theatre for Education and Social Transformation Course. She has been engaging with children of different age groups in schools. She was previously associated with Shikshantar School, Gurgaon and is currently working with Mirambika free progress school in Delhi.
Sakhi has been a theatre facilitator and practitioner working in and around Delhi for as long as she has been instigating a consistent reordering of her academic priorities. Graduating from Ramjas College in 2016 with the experience of many projects as a member of Shunya, the Dramatics Society and a degree in Economics, she completed the Young India Fellowship in 2017. Hoping to never escape college, she has been studying the anthropology of higher education in India to tease out the ‘political’ in the lives of young adults as they navigate public universities. She completed her Masters in Liberal Studies in 2018. Besides a begrudging fear of growing old, the urge to demystify the collective exercise of exchanging ideas through performance, theatre, and art has been the only certainty in her life.
Mudita is a pre-primary teacher with a passion for story narration. Exploring available content in the genre of children’s literature is her favourite pass time.
She believes in the use of theatre as a teaching aid in the classroom. This had led her to pursue the course ‘Theatre in Education and Social Transformation’ from Shiv Nadar University. She now looks at helping children expand their capacities in expressing/speaking with their bodies. This is her current area of interest and exploration.
The sensibilities that Aagaaz brings to all their work is what has drawn her to it. Learning and practicing theatre, in an atmosphere of co-creation is what she looks forward to, at Aagaaz.
Jasmine did her bachelors in Political Science Hons. hoping to be a journalist, however, she has been in the education sector since the past 7 years now and absolutely loving it.
She has been a fellow with Teach For India, worked as a teacher with Ark(Peepul) and has been a Coach for Teach For India’s blended teacher training program Firki. She is also a theatre artist and feels dancing helps her connect to herself the most. As during her schooling she learnt more from doing creative arts outside the classroom than being inside the classroom, she wishes to explore creative arts in education for holistic development of individuals. She also has worked on small projects with the Roundhouse and Arts for Social Change India and is currently working on Project Anjuman with Creatnet Education and the Delhi Government which aims to build creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication in children through visual and performing arts. She is currently studying Drama and Movement Therapy in London.
Akhila is an applied theatre practitioner from Delhi. With a passion for playing a game whenever possible, she designs and facilitates theatre-based interventions for corporates, non-profits, schools and universities in India and the U.S. Akhila’s practice – which she blogs about like a mad person – stems from her training in Bharatnatyam and in the Theatre of the Oppressed methodology. She currently works at Black Box Okhla – a performing arts lab in New Delhi. In the past she has worked for Potomac Theatre Project (New York City), San Francisco Mime Troupe, Imagination Stage (Maryland) and Arena Stage (Washington D.C). She received her BA in Theatre from Middlebury College.
Akhila believes that universality of the arts can connect adolescents across cultures and communities and fully resonates with Aagaaz’s mission to represent their multiple stories on stage.
Katyayini is a post-graduate student of Gender Studies with a keen inclination towards acting, music, writing and the process of performance. She understands theatre as the most honest real to ‘reality’, to live within the process and breathe off it. Her journey has involved helping create spaces for initiating dialogue amongst young adults around socio-political issues and questions of self through play, often and indispensably bridging the two. She has been a member of Peoples Theatre Laboratory based in Baroda.
At Aagaaz, she helps create safe spaces online with practitioners from varied backgrounds. It enhances her own practice as an actor, enabling her to comprehend the nuances in and around her craft.
Devika spends her time walking frantically, staring at walls, drawing fish and drinking coffee. She graduated from Centre for Learning, Bangalore in March, 2015, took a life-changing gap year and then created chaos for a while at Swaraj University, Udaipur. She has a keen interest in education and working with people. She also enjoys working with her hands and wants to explore the role of arts in pedagogy and learning. Devika has been full time at Aagaaz since May, 2017, where she enjoys mentoring, designing learning spaces, working on sexual and reproductive health sessions, engaging with bigger questions, learning about theatre and simply interacting with the kids who bring out the crazy in her!
Grace is a rolling stone that is hopeful of gathering many mosses on her way! She did her undergraduate degree in English Literature, then switched to Sociology for her Masters. After a short stint as an Assistant Director for a feature-length documentary film, she decided to pursue documentary filmmaking. She is associated with Pandies Theatre and is currently learning how to facilitate theatre- and filmmaking-based workshops in the online & offline space.
Vandana is an applied theatre practitioner and the founder of Rang Karwan. She is a Journalist by education and an artist by birth. With her passion being music and dance since childhood, she enjoys working with adolescents and youth.
Her interests and practice lies in creating spaces for communities and using arts in learning and pedagogy. She also believes and practices a minimalist and sustainable lifestyle.
Pranshu Shrimali is a Theatre Practitioner and Production Designer based in Delhi, and has been working with theatre in education and process drama for the past 8 years. An alumnus of The
Players, Kirorimal College, Delhi University, he has gone on to explore theatre and performance arts
through various mediums- as an actor, director, and lighting designer.
Pranshu is a co-founder and Improvisational artist at Playground Improv Collective, New Delhi. He is also the co-founder of Tech quartet, designing technical solutions for live shows and performance spaces.
Rochan Mathur is a stage and screen actor based in Delhi. He has worked with multiple theatre groups as an actor and as a production assistant with others. He has acted in digital advertisements and TVCs for multiple brands.
As an Improv Comedian, he has done 70+ shows with Playground Improv Collective.
Rochan is interested in Applied Theatre and works with educational institutions and NGOs alike to spread the joy of drama.
Smrithi is a a political science graduate, theatre enthusiast, and avid reader. Passionate research work and reading occupy a major portion of her daily schedule. She has always been fascinated by stories, by people, by language of the bodies and thus finds herself looking for an escape from mediocre lives, via theatre.
Akanksha is a dance practitioner having a major interest in performance and performance making. Her recent bodily explorations deal with the notions of language, violence, and ambiguity. She has completed her Master’s degree in Performance Practice (Dance) from Ambedkar University Delhi and is one of the co-founders of Collective f.
Alia Sinha is an illustrator and theatre practitioner based in Delhi. She is deeply interested in collaborative art-making and obsessed with fungi, ghosts and bees.
Shruti Garg (They/She) is a queer affirmative drama and movement therapist, comic, and theatre artist. In her spare time, she likes to play cricket.
Jasmine Yadav is a dance practitioner with a particular interest in investigating dance as a system of care and support for the body. Her dance practice looks to encourage the body’s pleasure, play, risk and vulnerability; but also its reflexivity and accountability. She has completed her Master’s degree in Performance Practice (Dance) from Ambedkar University Delhi. Currently based in New Delhi, she is also one of the founding members of ‘Collective f’.
Maria is a social worker, craft-crochet-theatre lover, and a (self attested) graphic designer and content editor who’s trying to figure out how to bring all of these together to help people heal and figure themselves out. She has previously worked with the differently abled population and is currently busy ruling out all the careers she doesn’t want to pursue.
Vedi’s relationship with theatre and story-telling was laid early on in childhood through workshops and performances with school as well as National School of Drama. After extensively travelling and researching folk traditions in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, she started The Aahvaan Project in 2016. The project is born out of the philosophy of love, empathy and humanity. It holds storytelling and folk music performances and conversations across villages, towns, and cities.
Vrinda is an applied theatre practitioner who works using the container of artistic mediums (such as drama, movement and visual arts) in therapeutic and learning oriented contexts. Her practice leans on a feminist lens and uses approaches that are embodied and trauma informed. She has spent the past decade working with groups and a lot of her time during these pandemic years as a mental health professional working with individuals. She is enthusiastic about dancing, witchcraft, comic strips and cake.
She has also been supporting the Aagaaz Team as a Mental Health Practitioner for several years.
Based out of Delhi-NCR, Manishikha is a professional independent performing artist, director, educator, arts advocate and organisation builder, weaving stories of bodies through the point of view of their various social locations. She has been an Odissi dancer all her life and is working to explore and articulate the negotiations of the individual/collective body to the form. She is also deeply engaged with the current socio-political uprisings, constantly working towards a collective understanding of justice and human rights.
Pakhi is a Feminist activist, and a firm believer in context sensitive, intersectional, and holistic work. Her background is in research and development practice on Child rights, Gender violence and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights.
She is currently working on her music, and her independent research on Millennial Rape Cultures, while simultaneously creating and implementing Aagaaz's safety processes and protocols.
Manjari K is a performer, director and Theatre facilitator. She is currently preoccupied with questions around gender and play with intersections of performance languages.
Archit is a part time lawyer, some time theatre performer and perputually enthusiastic bathroom singer. He is interested in the role of imagination and interrogation in the process of learning.
Jaskaran is an educator, musician and software developer who is passionate about educational reforms that contribute to positive social change. In 2017, he co-founded Pi Jam Foundation, an organisation that works with young children to develop their skills and confidence in using computers, through which they can express themselves creatively and solve problems. He is also a big believer in the power of using music, movement, theatre and other arts-based mediums, and has been working with Music Basti full-time over the past four years. He is curious about the role technology can play in the future in supporting creative methodologies in the classroom.
Sukriti is an independent mental health practitioner / counselling psychologist, with a double Masters degree in Psychology from Delhi University, and a Masters in Family and Child Psychology from the University of Chester, UK. She has worked with neurodivergent children and adolescents and their families, as well as adults, through sensory, play, and arts based mediums along with traditional talk therapy. At Aagaaz, Sukriti facilitates sessions with our facilitators-in-training to help them understand and attune to children's developmental and emotional needs. She unwinds by playing board games, singing with her ukulele, and feeding her curiosities about world politics.
Performance Arts Team
Mentor/ Lights Designer
Director / Mentor
Everyday Practice Team
Mental Health Support
Support & Governance Team
Anirban (Baan) has more than 15 years of experience as a professional musician performing and recording worldwide. He is a recipient of the ARThink South Asia fellowship in 'Arts Management', RSA fellowship (UK), British Council’s Young Creative Entrepreneur award, Goethe Institut’s SAMUR fellowship, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded fellowship in 'Leadership & Innovation'.
He is the founder of a multi-arts performance project titled 'Dastaan LIVE'.
Vardhna Puri completed her Masters in Human Development and Childhood Studies from University of Delhi in 2010. Since then she has been working with various organizations in the development network. Her longest stint was with the Aga Khan Development Network where she worked as a Program Coordinator of the Early Childhood Care and Development Program which is part of the larger Urban Renewal Initiative. She was involved in designing and implementing programs for children below six years of age who live in Nizamuddin Basti. Currently she is enrolled as a PhD student with University of Delhi and she plans to study childhood, migration and policy implications. Her other interest are photography and art.
Paromita Ghosh is a special educator and counselor with years of experience of working with children and young adults. She recently resigned from her job as a counselor in Bal Bharti Public school, Pitampura and now devotes her time to teach children with special needs. She is often seen sitting outside her home gardening or near the street dogs who adore her presence.
Advisory Board Member
Jehan Manekshaw is the Founder Director of Theatre Professionals. He is also a co-convener on the faculty panel of The Drama School, Mumbai.
Jehan has taught as guest faculty at Ninsasam Theatre Institute, Attakallari Centre for Movement Arts, and St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, Shinshu University, Japan, and the National School of Drama’s T.I.E division in Agartala. He also has directed numerous plays in different languages in India, the US, UK, and Japan.
Advisory Board Member
Puppeteer Anurupa Roy's views puppetry as not "manipulating dolls with strings" but an amalgam of plastic and performing arts where sculptures, masks, figures, materials, found objects and narratives come together with music, movement, physicality and theater to create the theater where humans and puppets are co actors. She started at her group Katkatha in 1998 which was registered as the Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust 2006. She has directed over 15 shows for children and adults ranging from the Ramayana and Mahabharata to Shakespearen comedy to the Humayun-nama. The puppets used by the group range from 3 inches to forty feet. The shows have toured across Europe, Japan and South Asia. A major aspect of her work is using puppets for psycho social interventions in conflict areas like Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Manipur to Juvenile Remand homes. She has worked with youth and women across the country using puppets to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and gender issues. She is a recipient of the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar in Puppetry(2006). She has been a visiting faculty at the University of California Los Angeles an Artists in Residence at Pro Helvetia Swiss Arts Council.
Advisory Board Member
Kanika is the Convener of ComMutiny – The Youth Collective, where she looks after partnerships and outreach and in that role. She also serves in an advisory capacity as a member of the board of Farm2Food Foundation, Assam
After 17 years of designing and facilitating interventions for youth centric development, Kanika sees herself as an advocate for youth work in India. She comes with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Lady Shri Ram College and a Master’s Degree in Social Development from the University of Sussex. Kanika began her journey by volunteering at the relief camps in Ahmedabad post the Godhra riots of 2002.
Advisory Board Member
Mohit Satyanand is an entrepreneur, consultant, investor and policy wonk. After an M.A. from Delhi School of Economics, he joined Hindustan Lever as a management trainee, moving 4 years later to Delhi Flour Mills, where he established India’s first successful snack food brand, Crax. He still provides strategic direction to that business, as well as several other small- and mid-sized manufacturing firms. In 1989, he co founded Teamwork Films, which now produces several of India’s most prestigious arts festivals, including the Jaipur Literary Festival, and annual festivals in Singapore, South Africa, Europe and North America. In 2002, he co- promoted a chain of English language teaching centers in Delhi under the Swiss brand name, inlingua. Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Liberty Institute, a policy think-tank, he has a special interest in the policy thrust of education and macro-economics.
Mohit is also former consulting editor, Outlook Money.