Theatre Roots & Wings was founded in 2007 by Indian theatre director Sankar Venkateswaran with aims to explore new approaches to theatre practice and to develop new audiences through theatre-making in collaboration with artists from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Using theatre as a tool, Theatre Roots & Wings continues to create common spaces to gather and share imaginary experiences.
© Manoj Parameswaran
Sankar Venkateswaran is an Indian theatre director. Born in Calicut, Kerala in 1979, he studied directing at the School of Drama and Fine Arts, University of Calicut, after which he trained at the Theatre Training and Research Programme, Singapore.
His works include Sahyande Makan- The Elephant Project (2008) with Japanese actor Micari, Ohta Shogo’s silent play The Water Station (2011) and Henrik Ibsen’s When We Dead Awaken (2012) with German dancer Urs Dietrich, among others. In 2013 he received the Ibsen Scholarship from Teater Ibsen, Norway, for ‘Tribal Ibsen Project’ which furthered his work with the indigenous communities in Attappadi, Kerala. He built a theatre in the region, named Sahyande Theatre, and lives and works among the communities. His following works, Theriyama Nadanda Nera (2016), Udal Uravu (2017), Criminal Tribes Act (2017) and Indian Rope Trick (2020) reflect the shift in Venkateswaran’s working context. His works have been shown at various venues and festivals such as Zurich Theater Spektakel, Spielart in Munich, Kyoto Experiment, Zoukak Sidewalks in Beirut, and Theater Commons Tokyo.
Alongside his work with the company, Venkateswaran has directed a number of works outside, such as Anton Chekhov’s Seagull (2011), Maurice Maeterlinck’s Interior (2020) for NINASAM in Heggodu, India, Bhasa’s Urubhangam (2011) for Shinshu University in Japan, Tage der Dunkelheit (2016) and INDIKA (2017) for Munich Volkstheater, Germany, and When We Dead Awaken (2018) for Intercultural Theatre Institute, Singapore.
Venkateswaran was the jury member for Zurich Theater Spektakel in 2016. He served as the artistic director for National Theatre Festival in 2012, organized by Government of Kerala, also for the International Theatre Festival of Kerala in 2015 and 2016. During his term, the programme emphasized exchanges within the Global South to resist the Eurocentric agendas of cultural practice.