National Centre for the Performing Arts
Over the past half-decade, the city’s largest cultural venue, the National Centre for the Performing Arts has made concerted efforts to shake off its reputation as an old-timers’ hangout frequented only by rich members of the Parsi community. Through events like their occasional series of “Chalk Talks” (thus far, they have included introductory lectures on elements of Hindustani and Western classical music), the NCPA seeks to demystify the arts for younger audiences, who may have previously stayed away despite the consistently commendable roster of events. It is still the city’s premiere—and perhaps only—venue for Western classical music, and is home to the Symphony Orchestra of India, founded in 2006 to hone local talent in the genre. Along with Prithvi, it’s also one of Mumbai’s main theatre spaces, with the slightly niche productions staging at the 300-capacity Experimental Theatre and the more mainstream fare at the 1,000-plus Tata Theatre. The NCPA also holds four theatre festivals a year, one each for English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati plays, and most recently, they tied up with London’s National Theatre to screen recordings of plays from the UK. There are also annual festivals for Hindustani and Sufi music as well as Indian classical dance. The largest—and fanciest—auditorium, the Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, is reserved for big-ticket events like international jazz concerts, operas, and the SOI performances.