Theatre, dance, music and comedy - Indian performances to catch online

At 10 pm every night, you can watch live stand-up comedy on Instagram (@thatcomedyclub) to take your mind off these times
Stepping out of our homes to watch a play, attend a dance performance or a music recital is an option no longer. Even the most vibrant and cultural cities in the country have come to a standstill, with only essential services on offer. As you may have noticed. But there’s the internet, an invention comparable only with the fire and the wheel in terms of its impact on human lives. It has emerged as a cultural hotspot where Indian musicians and artists are putting up shows to fill the entertainment void. With a host of options available, one can view with pleasure the arts we all miss dearly, from the safety of our homes. 

NCPA @home: One of India’s premier cultural institutions, the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai celebrates music, dance, theatre, film, literature and photography like none other. The quarantine and lockdown has prompted NCPA to bring culture to your homes, free of cost, through its YouTube channel, NCPA Mumbai. You can view the performances and concerts, which are streamed at 6 pm every day, until a week after the last performance on April 16.

For classical music aficionados, there is Mozart’s Symphony No 35, conducted by violin virtuoso Marat Bisengaliev, one of the founders of Symphony Orchestra of India. For those in the mood for jazz, there are performances by the Mandy Gaines Quartet and the Clifford Brown Legacy Band, which celebrates the American jazz trumpeter who died at 25, leaving behind compositions that are now jazz staples. A performance by Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam dancer Mallika Sarabhai from the NCPA Add Art Festival in 2019 is also available on the YouTube channel, while Kathak by the Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company can be viewed on April 15.

Theatre Live: A BookMyShow initiative to keep the drama alive in our lives, Theatre Live has theatre and film artists of note on board. While some will narrate stories and recite poetry, others will conduct online workshops for those interested in theatre. Actor, poet, Dastango and theatre director Danish Husain; former radio jockey Harssh, an all-rounder who can sing, dance, act and write; and Marathi film and theatre actor Parna Pethe are all part of this initiative. Each of these artists will go live from their respective Instagram handles till April 14 and will also take requests from viewers. 

Log on to for the schedule

The Happiness Hour: This hour of fun and excitement on Instagram is a talk show with artists among whom are comedians, actors, writers and poets. Produced by the Cobalt Blue Foundation, an organisation that uses engaging storytelling methods to talk about the arts, this show is for those who miss attending talks and lectures. Every night, from 8 pm to 9 pm, Sundeep Verma, a comedian, mythologist and storyteller, chats with artists of different persuasions. Tonight, for instance, you can doodle with artist Rohit Soni. And on April 14 — the anticipated last day of the lockdown and also of the talk show — you can listen to motivational “Poetry at the End of the Tunnel”, all on their Instagram handle, @cobaltbluefoundation. 

Live From HQ: This poetry and storytelling initiative features 30-minute-long performances by various poets and storytellers who will go live from their respective Instagram handles. Modern and young poets such as Harnidh Kaur (@harnidhk), who is the author of The Inability of Words, a collection of poems on the themes of love, humanity, anger, belief and magic, will offer much-needed respite in these troubling and uncertain times at 9 pm on April 11. Dastango and poet Danish Husain will also perform live from his Instagram account (@dan.husain) on April 12.

That Comedy Digital Club: That Comedy Club, a comic hangout in Bengaluru and Mumbai, has gone digital, thanks to the pandemic wreaking havoc in the world. At 10 pm every night, you can watch live stand-up comedy shows on Instagram (@thatcomedyclub) to take your mind off these times that nothing ever prepared us for. The club has a lineup of comedians every day that is revealed on the day of the show. 

Follow their Instagram account for details 

Once Upon a Book with Penguin: This one is for those working adults who are running out of ways to entertain their young ones. Organised by Momspresso on its Facebook page, this session features some of the country’s finest children’s authors, who will narrate stories and keep the children engaged every evening 6:30 onwards. Tales from books such as Lubaina Bandukwala’s Ninja Nani are sure to keep your children engaged, at least for a while.

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