Tag Archives: drama

Project Beard: alternative narratives from the Queer and Mainstream



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Project Beard is now 7 months old. In these few months we successfully launched our first performance Coming Out in Pune and Mumbai. The show has completed 5 shows, generated dialogue in several spaces and was even mentioned as one of the most memorable performances of 2016 in the Pune Times.

‘Coming Out’ deals with true life experiences told through a performance moving through space. It is a theatre experience which uses multiple mediums to express, question, criticize and ideate on ‘what is, can be and is possible’ to talk about. It weaves together ensemble-theatre, art installation, music, poetry, story-telling and conversations to speak of what has come out from conversations with people from different spheres of life- the queer community, artists, theatre-makers and activists. Art installations have been guided by Ruve Narang.

Project Beard has also gone on to conducting workshops on sex, gender and sexuality in schools and develop Community Theatre as an active practice in the city. This year is going to look at more creative work through the process and collaborating with more artists, queer and mainstream, as we continue to understand what those words mean. If you’d like to support Project Beard or contribute to it, please do write into hinaqui@gmail.com.

Our supporters:

The Cultural Centre

Lost the Plot


Expressions Unlimited!


Media Coverage for Coming Out

The Indian Express                                         The Times of India-article

The Times of India-review                              Sakaal Times

The Golden Sparrow                                       Theatre Potato (a blog)

The play not only questions existing structures but also advocates for an expansion of the inclusions of the term ‘queer’ and all that this umbrella term could mean. ‘Coming out’ finally is about breaking the silence, saying no to shame and guilt due to the desires, wants and experiences that individuals have felt and lived through. While walking through space, we welcome you to explore different identities, experiences, stories and the politics of what each of them embody.


The experience also advocates for having ‘safe spaces’ for all people to be able to come, express and experience freely and without any fear. It also looks for processes of Community Theatre and what emerges from these engagements while looking at it as processes and not just the performance as the end.

The Need:

The LGBTQI movement in India faces massive socio-politico-legal hurdles. Beyond that, there is repression that various levels in Indian society around sexuality as a whole. As allies and people with various sexual identities, we at OQ acknowledge and respect the struggle. As storytellers, we feel the need to understand and share alternative narratives around sexuality. As theatremakers, we want to create performative material that an audience can relate to.

The Objectives:

We have come together to:

  1. Create a performance by including individuals who identify as Queer in creating content for a performance
  2. Stage this performance professionally to provoke an audience’s attention and response
  3. Use that attention to foster conversation
  4. Ultimately create alternative narratives around sexuality, especially in the Indian context

The Process:

Beard is our first attempt at creating such a performance.

A basic idea: Three Characters

Two women in a relationship and the man they use as a heterosexual cover (beard) in society.

The People:

  1. We have taken the first step and assembled a team of actors.
  2. We have also begun reaching out to our networks to bring in people who identify as queer. This will be done with complete discretion and a non-disclosure policy to ensure that all queer individuals involved feel safe.
  3. The next step is to reach out to Queer Networks and organizations & activists working intersectionally in the field of sex & sexuality, gender issues, women’s issues, LGBT issues etc.

The Content:

 This simple idea is converted it into a public performance through:

  • Sessions on sex & sexuality
  • Lectures and story-sharing
  • One-on-one interviews
  • Devising drama & improvisation etc

Largely, plot-points and theatrical devices come from the actors and theatremakers.

Back-stories, character-sketches, coming-out stories, notes on culture etc come from queer individuals

Historical anecdotes, statistics, socio-economic truths etc come from the organizations

The Outcome:


A play to be staged before an audience, giving them a relatable story that stars a same-sex couple and promotes the visibility of queer women

  • An immersive theatre experience, where the audience gets to explore the lives of individual characters in the story at their own leisure
  • An exhibition of visual and performance art provoked by the discussions and dialogue
  • Interactions & dialogues post each event


Beard is the first such performative experiment we are undertaking. Our intention is to make it a process that evolves alternative narratives through theatre-based processes. In the long-term, we want to use the intimate, experiential impact of live performance to:

  • Generate empathy
  • Provide a point of inclusion for queer individuals and allies
  • Create an anti-point to the popular depiction of same-sex relations in Indian and Western media
  • Bring conversations and stories around sexuality as a whole in to the mainstream

We also hope that in the long run, we will be able

  • To kickstart performance festivals for queer individuals and allies
  • Provide platforms for LGBTQI performance artists
  • Mentor and support similar projects, festivals and a lot more

OQ: Our Repertoire





1. .hop.skip.



A collaboration with 2 leading directors in Pune – Mahrukh Bharucha & Jaideep Mujumdar – to devise short plays centred around the theme of ‘Invisible Love’. Each Director worked with their team while I ran the devising process, workshops and overall aesthetic curation and production.

2. Mujhse Shaadi Karonge 2014 Based on research done with women who have used Matrimonial websites to find partners. This was a monoact that I created and performed for the annual summer festival at Artsphere, Pune.
3. Kiss & Tell 2014 Based on qualitative research done with 50 odd individuals, this play highlights urban relationships, the hook-up culture and the lives of young, single, intelligent women through the story of Frieda – a blogger and ghost-writer and her relationships three different guys. The play premiered on the 14th of February at Pukaar 2014, Pune
4. The Artist and the Aviator 2013 Explores the evolving relationship of the artist and the muse and whether it can transcend its traditional parasitic nature. Based on archival research. It was chosen for development by the Kali Theatre, London.
5. White Noise 2011 – 2013 Inspired by William Dalrymple’s book, ‘Nine Lives’, this play was an experimental foray in to many of the masks society wears through 4 unusual character – a Jain nun, an Idol-maker, a Devadasi and a mad woman.

The Play has been performed at:

  • ACT Festival, 2011
  • Bela Terrace Theatre Festival, Delhi, 2012
  • Kala Ghoda Festival, Mumbai, 2013
  • Bordersongs Festival, Kolkata, 2013
6. Anarkali 2012 Devised drama created with a team of 7 actors, the plat us based in an old-world kotha, it is the story of competition amongst the ranks of women working in the brothel and how that ultimately leads to the murder of one of the girls’ lovers
7. Charming 2012 This was a short play twisting the happy ending of the Handsome Prince-Sleeping Princess faerietale, staged at the Short+Sweet Theatre Festival in Mumbai.
8. Toba Tek Singh 2011 Based on the story of the same name by one of Urdu’s greatest writers – Saadat Hassan Manto, this play explores the strife and absurdity of the Indo-Pak Partition. Played out of a mental asylum in Lahore, the play was dramatized by actors between 16 to 33 years of age.
9. Food on the Table 2010-2011 A play dealing with the various forms of domestic violence, developed through research with the Stree Mukti Sanghtana.

Staged by

  • Key City Theatre, Washington, USA as part of the ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ festival of women playwrights
  • Contacting the World festival held in Manchester, UK in 2010
10. Sapphire Butterfly Blue 2010 / 2009 The script is a visual and auditory explosion of moments around the Salem Witch Trials that rocked Salem County, Massachusetts in 1692. The events of the play were juxtaposed to the modern-day witch burnings and tortures that occur in Bihar and Jharkhand, India through the production and used news footage and episodic story-telling.

Staged at

Zehen, an international theatre festival organized by Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication at Lavale

11. Geography of a Horse Dreamer 2010 Sam Shepard’s absurd play is the story of Cody, a man who dreams winning horses and is abducted by the mafia for his gift.

I was in charge of the training for actors and the physical work during the play

12. Mind Matters 2005-2010 The script deals with the dilemmas and pitfalls of psychiatry as a profession. Based on research done with students of psychiatry and people living with mental illness.

Staged at

The Inter-State Seminar on Research Methodologies in the English Language, Nowrosjee Wadia College, Pune, 2010

13. Waiting



2009 Nothing happens, no one comes, no one goes.

Samuel Beckett’s seminal work, high-point of the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’ movement staged by us on a very, very experimental basis. Our amateur treatment wasn’t the best way to go about it. But it was definitely a learning experience.

14. All that remains… 2008 The play was a story of a family that has been living in an ancient house for generations but is now facing problems that cannot be explained away. This was my naive attempt at a penny dreadful.

Staged as

A fundraiser for Sahara AALHAD, Tamanna and the Steria India Foundation.

15. Where is my baby? 2008

My first play as a professional, this surreal, episodic drama was written for the NGO Tamanna and deals with the issue of sex-selective abortion.

It looked at the problem of ante-natal sex-determination through the prism of class, gender and society.