About Maya

Maya Krishna Rao
A 30 Friends Colony East
New Delhi 110065, India
Date of birth: April 18, 1953
Facebook: Maya Krishna Rao; Vismayah

One person / group creations performed and directed
  • Walk in response to Delhi bus gang rape, 2012 onwards...several performances in schools, colleges, street, living rooms, shopping malls, NGOs, rallies
  • The Non Stop Food-Clothes-Feel Good Show commissioned by Park Hotel for 6-city tour Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, 2011
  • Small Fry created for Maximum India festival, Kennedy Centre, Washington DC, 2011
  • Ravanama solo,comissioned by Ramayana festival, Adishakti, Pondicherry, India  2011
  • Quality Street solo, by Chimamnda Ngozi Adichie, 2010
  • Lady Macbeth Revisited cross media performance, 2010
  • Are You Home Lady Macbeth? performance art project for Khoj, Delhi, 2008
  • Hand Over Fist - perspectives on masculinities cross media performance as launch of UN programme in India, commissioned by UNDP and UNIFEM, Delhi, 2007 
  • Heads Are Meant for Walking Into cross media performance, 2005
  • Stand up comedy, solo, various creations, Hindi/English 1992 onwards.
  • A Deep Fried Jam..... A Deeper Fried Jam socio-political cabaret, regenerated versions, 2002 onwards.
  • Departures, commissioned by London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT),London, 1999
  •  4-Wheel-Drive-“Come-to-me- Mr.Sharma”- Body-Fat-Murdered-Show, comedy in episodes, several versions,1998 onwards
  • Rainmaker, solo, inspired by Assamese short story, Delhi,1998
  • The Job solo, based on a short-story by Bertolt Brecht, commissioned by Max Mueller Bhavan, Delhi,1997.
  • Khol Do solo, dance-theatre, inspired by Saadat Hasan Manto’s short story, Delhi, 1993. 
  • Street theatre as founder-member of group,‘ Theatre Union’, scripted, directed, performed Om Swaha on dowry and Dafa no.180 on the Indian law on rape, several shows in colleges, parks, non-formal spaces, 1979-82 

  •  Participatory programmes for children - conceived, scripted and directed around themes of history and society for National School of Drama Theatre-in Education company: Pandita Ramabai, 2009,  Sciva and Jagli, 2003, Dilli Sultanat, 1995, Igloo-Igloo, 1996, Bhagat Singh, 1986.  
  • Drama syllabus, formulated for B.El.Ed (Bachelor in Elementary Education), Delhi University, 2008
  • Drama syllabus classes I – XII, for central govt. body NCERT (National Council for Educational Resources and Training, Delhi), Member, drafting committee, 2007.
  • Co-devised, performed and toured theatre shows Story Spinners and Piece At Any Price as member, Perspectives Theatre Company, Nottingham, England, to different parts of England, Nottingham, England, 1984.Leeds Playhouse TIE Company, as member, devised and/or performed in Heiretikos, Or The One Who Chooses, Leeds 1983; performed in ‘Pow-Wow’, Leeds, England, 1982. 
  • School Teacher Workshops:for National School of Drama and schools in Delhi  2003 onwards; for Delhi University, 2003 onwards; and other teacher traning institutions all over India, 1986 onwards

Training: in Delhi and Kerala, 1961 onwards, specialising in the male role. Several performances in India and abroad of p the Ramayana and the Mahabharata as well as Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’. Krishna, Karna, Ravana, Arjuna, Hidimba, Hanuman, Bhima, Damayanti, Surpanakha, Draupadi, Desdemona

1970 onwards. Among others, played leading role in
‘Dream of Reason’, Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’ and ‘Twelfth Night’  Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Dolls House’, Bertolt Brecht’s ‘The Mother’ and ‘St. Joan of the Stockyards, Federico Garcia Lorca’s 'House of Bernada Alba’; Maxim Gorky’s Viy’; Aphra Behn’s ‘The Rover’ (invited by Womens’Playhouse Trust, London); Desdemona’, for Theatreworks, Singapore, toured Singapore, Adelaide, Hamburg, Munich, Fukuoka. The play Directors included Amal Allana, Anamika Haksar, Anuradha Kapur, Barry John, Jules Wright, Ong Keng Sen (Japan).

London International Festival of Theatre   (LIFT) London, U.K., 1997, 1999
Sahmat  several comedy shows, 1993 onwards 
American Dance Festival  Durham, USA, 1992 
Nandikar  Kolkata 1997 
Prithvi  Mumbai, 1997, 2003 
Sahitya Kala Parishad  Delhi, 1998 
Amman Theatre Festival  Amman, Jordan, 1998 
The Other Festival  Chennai 1998, 1999 
Sangeet Natak Akademi  Bangalore Trichur 1998, 1999; 
Centre for Performance Research  Univ. Of Aberystwyth Wales, UK, 1999 
Dancescenen Festival  Munich Germany, 2000 
National School of Drama  Bharat Rang Mahotsav, Delhi, 2000, '02, '06, '07, '10,'11,'12 
Restless Gravity Aberystwyth, Wales, England, 2000, 
Kobenhavns Internationale Teater  Copenhagen, Denmark 2000, 2001 
Kiasma Museum Helsinki, Finland, 2001 
Jomba! Durban, S.Africa, 2002 
Poorva Womens Festival Delhi, 2003 
Kulavai Chennai, 2003 
House of World Cultures Berlin, Germany, 2003 
Rangashankara Bangalore, 2005 
Theatre Du Nord Lille, France, 2006 
Kampnagel Hamburg, Germany 2002, 2007 
Frankfurt Book Fair 2006 
Khoj performance art, Delhi, 2008
National Theatre Festival Thiruvanathapuram, India, 2009 
ARCO Fair Valladolid, Spain, 2009 
Ramayana festival Adishakti, Pondicherry, 2011
New Park festival 6 city-tour of comedy, 2011
Neelan Tiruchelvan Trust Srilanka, 2012 
Women's Theatre Festival Chandigarh, 2012
Ramayana Festival Cologne, Germany, 2012
Female Voices, Cologne, Germany, 2016
Dramaturgies of Cultural Translation, Amsterdam, 2016 
Theatre Bonn, Bonn, 2016

Workshops Acting / Kathakali / Theatre-in-education (select)
Artists’ Workshop, Kasauli, India 1981,1982; 
ILEA (Inner London Education Authority) Childrens workshop, London, 1983, 
Kathakali workshops, U.K, Germany, USA, Singapore, India 1984 onwards, 
New Directions in Indian Dance, Max Mueller Bhavan, Delhi, 1993, 
Faiz Centenary Celebrations, Lahore1988, 
Street plays for colleges, Delhi University, 1987,’88,’97, 2000,’01,’02’, 
Woman In Us, all-India theatre performers’ workshop, Mumbai, 1996,
Theatreworks, Kathakali workshop, Singapore, 1998, 
Drama-in-Education, various schools in Delhi, Bangalore, Andhra Pradesh, 2002 onwards 
Prakriti Foundation, on gender, Chennai, 2002, 
Continuum Arts Project, Luang Prabang, Laos, 2003, 
Kattaikuthu Youth Theatre School, Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu, 2003, 
Women Unlimited, young writers workshop, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, 2005, 
Sangat, womens orgn., on gender, Kathmandu, 2007, 
Nireeksha, womens’ group, workshop for children, Kottayam, 2005, 
Prithvi, young people’s theatre workshop, Mumbai 2006, 
Punjab University, Dept. of Theatre, Chandigarh, 2001,2007,
National School of Drama.Madurai '99, Nagaland '08, Delhi '12 
Srishti School of Design and Technology, Bangalore, 2008, 2009. 
India Foundation for the Arts, seminar and teachers workshop, Bangalore, 2010.
Theatre Professionals, Mumbai, 2011
U.S performance - cum - workshop tour - Univ. of California (Irvine, Berkeley), Smith College, NYU, Barnard College, 2013, Stanford University, 2015
TISS, Tata Inst. of Social Sciences, Mumbai, 2014
Warwick University, Summer School, teaching,  2016
Kolkata Sonved, dance movement therapy workshop, Kolkata Jan. 29 - Feb. 4, 2017

As part of workshops, have scripted, devised and directed performances;  

Viy, play, based on a short story by Gogol, directed by Anamika Haksar, 1990.
Dream of Reason, based on the life of Goya, directed by Anamika Haksar, 1991.
Subhadra, co - choreographed, film, directed by Ein Lall. based on the Mahabharata, 1995
Kamasutra, film, directed by Mira Nair
Film; Television
The Rover, play, Open University, BBC, London, 1994.
Voice-over – various films.
About Maya
Portrait of Maya Krishna Rao, film, Doordarshan, 1997
Maya Krishna Rao, video notes, Sparrow Women’s’ Documentation Centre, Mumbai.
Women Who Dared, ed. Ritu Menon, National Book Trust, 2002. (Maya featured as one among twenty notable living Indian women of last fifty years).
National School of Drama Theatre-in-Education Company, member, advisory committee.
Gati Summer Dance Residency, Advisor, Delhi, since 2008
National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) – member, drama syllabus committee, 2006
Delhi University Academic Council, elected member, 1982
Modern School, Delhi, 1970.
Sociology, B.A. (Hons), Miranda House, Delhi University, Delhi, 1974.
Political Studies, M.A., Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, 1977.
Theatre Arts, M.A., Leeds University, Leeds, England, 1983.

Drama - in - Education, Diploma, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, 2012 

Positions held 

  • Professor, Shiv Nadar University, 2013 - 2017
  • Associate Professor, Dept. of Acting, National School of Drama Delhi, 1985-90. 
  • Actor-Teacher, Perspectives Theatre Company, Nottingham, England with a brief to create and tour programmes of community interest in Nottingham, UK, 1982-83.
  • Actor-Teacher, Leeds Playhouse Theatre-in-Education Company, Leeds, England, to create theatre programmes for schools, Leeds, UK,1983-84.
  • Lecturer, Political Science, Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University,1977-85.

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award  (Govt. of India), for Acting, 2010. 
Award returned in 2015 


  1. Dear Maya, I would really like for you to come to Singapore and conduct a Theatre workshop.
    I look forward to getting your contact nos so I can speak to you about this.
    Subina Khaneja

  2. Hi, Maya ji. Am writing on behalf of vadodara marathon. Your "walk" perfrmance is so very inspiring. We are organizing a night marathon only for ladies in Vadodara called Queens' Run.
    Would you be intrested to come to Vadodara For perfomance for one of our Queens' Run events.

  3. Dear Maya, I think of you...It's so nice to know about you. Best regards.
    Your ADF'92 friend, Gacel

  4. Dear Maya, I think of you, I remember you...It's nice to know about you.
    Best regards, dear. your ADF'92 friend,

  5. Respected Maya Krishna Rao Ji,
    Your performances are truly great because of having message of protection and promotion of rights of all which are ever being violated or discriminated on any ground. Your performances are very much lively and vibrant and can surely sensitize society towards the equality and justice.

  6. Respected Maya Krishna Rao Ji,
    Your performances are truly great because of having message of protection and promotion of rights of all which are ever being violated or discriminated on any ground. Your performances are very much lively and vibrant and can surely sensitize society towards the equality and justice.

  7. Respected Maya Krishna Rao Ji,
    Your performances are truly great because of having message of protection and promotion of rights of all which are ever being violated or discriminated on any ground. Your performances are very much lively and vibrant and can surely sensitize society towards the equality and justice.

  8. Dear Maya,

    You may recall that we met at the ITFOK festival. I have highlighted the news of your performance WALK in Mumbai in collaboration with the Asia Society on Mumbai Theatre Guide. Here's the link: http://www.mumbaitheatreguide.com/dramas/Articles/14/feb/25-international-womens-day-with-theatre-artiste-maya-krishna-rao-in-mumbai.asp

    Have a good show :)

    Deepa Punjani