Rudali | 2013

After a successful season in 2012, Prayas was invited by The Edge to run a second season of Rudali at the Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland.  A total of seven shows over two weeks coinciding with the Auckland Diwali festival, ran from 17th to 26th October.

The play treated the serious social issues of caste and exploitation of women by staying true to the original story by Mahasweta Devi. However, the story was told through humour, songs and dances celebrating the overall triumph of life. A total of 23 actors and a live band of six enchanted the audience with powerful acting, storytelling and lively music.

Prayas went outside Auckland’s growing Indian community to come up with a multi-ethnic cast and crew. Indeed, the lead role that of a woman known as Sanichari, was performed by a Cook Island actor and included Pakeha New Zealander, Samoan, Malaysian and Sri Lankan among its multi-ethnic cast, musicians and crew.

A sustained and well planned publicity campaign had created a lot of pre- season media and audience interest.  A total of nearly 750 people enjoyed the show with five of the seven shows completely sold out.

There were encouraging media reviews and excellent audience feedback:

“’I highly respect this company for retaining so much of the traditional culture in their performance …  This is most certainly a play to be savoured’. (, October 18, 2013)”

“…the story’s chief concerns are exposing the inequities of the caste system and celebrating the indomitable human spirit in the face of hardship. The production is most successful at portraying the latter, effectively employing the 23-strong cast to create crowd scenes that explode with colourful vitality’. (, October 22, 2013)”


Patricia Vichman as Sanichari Monica Mahendru as Bikhni Anya Banerjee as Parbatiya


Aman Bajaj, Abbas Burmahwala, Amir Kapasi, Dhruva Trivedi, Paurus Rege, Prasath Saminathan, Raj Singh, Mike Howell, Roji Varghese, Sahil Mehta, Ram Manthry, Kolopa Simei-Barton, Nona Shede, Arwa Janjali, Sudeepta Vyas, Divya Hariharan, Rehana Chougle, Malabika Bhaduri, Snehal Sinn, Sangeeta Gupta


Band Aswin Narayanan, Karen Plimmer, Marie Willis, Ritesh Vaghela, Vinayak dev & Vipul Dev

Band Vocalist: Sayanti Chatterjee

Music Direction: Vinayak Dev

Costume & make up: Padma Akula, Kimi Kimi Mane, Monica Mahendru

Dance Choreography: Sananda Chatterjee

Lighting Design: Rachel marlow

Sound Design: Divyan Mahesh & McCoy d’Silva

Stage management: Sananda Chatterjee

Production Manager: Satya Akula

Acting Coaches: Laurel Devenie, Rahul Gandhi

Set & Prop Design: Jessika Verryt

Creative & Photography: Bhavnesh Soni

Programme Design: Anjana Iyer

Publicist: Elephant Publicity

Marketing & Publicity: Sudeepta Vyas

Production Assistants: Sahil Malhotra, Kanchan Bandyopadhyay, Dilbagh Singh, Arwa janjali, Zetin Moza


Programming Manager, Arts: Craig Cooper

Producer, Development Programmes: Vanessa Thompson

Production Manager: Nicola Blackman

Publicity: Alex Ellis

Event Ticketing: Adam Dauphin & Ticketmaster

Technical Event Coordinator: Julie Towson & Savina Kim

Theatre Marketing Manager: Angela Gourdie

Theatre Marketing Coordinator: Hannah Cooke


Michael Field, Gaurav Bradoo, TAPAC, The Pulse Programme

Image credits to Michael Field and Bhavnesh Soni

Theatreview Review

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Listener Review

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