Heisnam Sabitri: The Way Of The Thamoi

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ISBN-13: 978-93-91125-19-6


Heisnam Sabitri is a critically acclaimed Indian stage actor and one of the most notable personalities in Manipuri theatre. Born into a Meitei family in Mayang Imphal, Manipur, she was introduced to theatre as a child artist by her aunt and theatre actor Gouramani Devi. She married stage director Heisnam Kanhailal in 1962, and together, they founded Kalakshetra Manipur in 1969. She also acted in a short film, Mahadevi Akka (1999), and the film won the National Film Award for the best anthropological film. A former government-nominated member of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Sabitri was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, in 2008, for her contributions to Manipuri theatre.

‘[A] continuous poem…in motion’ and ‘a living national treasure’ (2014) commented Richard Gough, professor of theatre at Wales University, UK, about Sabitri, after witnessing her performing on stage. This book is an invaluable addition to theatre and performance studies. It delineates the first-hand perspective of Heisnam Sabitri, as well as her husband, Heisnam Kanhailal—two great legendary innovators of 20th-century Indian theatre. It views the different aspects of theatre in the light of ‘thamoi’—a Meitei specific concept.

HS  Shivaprakash
HS Shivaprakash

Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU (2001–2019), award-winning poet, playwright, novelist, and critic, writing in Kannada and English, he is a multifaceted scholar. He became closely associated with Sabitri and Kanhailal during the finalization of another book on their theatre, and from thence germinated the idea of writing about Sabitri’s contribution to Sabitri-Kanhailal productions and Manipuri theatre. 

Usham  Rojio
Usham Rojio

With a PhD in theatre and performance studies from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, Dr Usham Rojio is a playwright and theatre director, and also an English teacher. His expertise in Manipuri language, culture, and theatre has been instrumental to this project. He has acted as the interpreter between his co-author and Sabitri, and has helped to bring this book together in the written words.