India / Delhi / New Delhi
Kaivalya Plays is a Delhi-based performing arts company led by Varoon P. Anand and Gaurav Singh Nijjer. Their artistic training is grounded in spontaneous improvisation, lying at the intersection of short-form improvisations (for performances and workshop) and applied improvisation (with a focus on mental healthcare, business, education, training). Their improv group CueLess improv was one Delhi's first improv teams and became the training ground for a generation of improv performers and heads of new teams. In late 2018, Kaivalya Plays created Unravel, an interactive theatre production produced under the Refunction theatre grant by the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan. The play brings conversations about mental health to the fore, with the ensemble using improv theatre and audience suggestions to devise the final performance on the spot. Their work has been featured widely across India and the world. Since the 2020 lockdown, they have moved our improv practice entirely online. In the first year of the pandemic, they hosted 15 applied improv workshops, 50+ open-space sessions, 6 online improv shows digitally – with a cumulative engagement of 2000+ individuals – and they are constantly figuring out newer formats to make improv more accessible and available. Kaivalya Plays is the only group in the world to host a monthly improv jam in English, Spanish, Punjabi and Hindi. In June 2021, Kaivalya Plays launched India Improv Sxene and India Improv Ensemble to showcase the work of Indian improv teams and build a group of performers from all over the country. Kaivalya Plays Hindi language improv training is now a part of Vanderbilt University’s Hindi & Urdu Language programme. In 2021, the team also created “Improv News Hour” and “Murder at the Paddington Tavern” in collaboration with The Nursery Theatre UK. From a dedicated Wednesday weekly jam to Improv for Language jams in four different tongues, Kaivalya Plays is pushing the boundary of improv theatre in India (and beyond!)
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