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In Search of Women in History of Marathi Theatre, 1843 to 1933

Marathi Theatre, 1843 to 1933 Neera Adarkar The recorded history of Marathi theatre both marginalises and undervalues women's real contribution to theatre. However, there is extensive material to show that when the presence of women became necessary for the survival of the theatre, patriarchal society suitably modified its views on women performers IN July 1990, 'Expressions' a women's Cultural festival was organised by some women from various women's groups. Since the focal point of The festival was 'theatre' an effort was made to invite some of the first generation stage actresses of the 1930s to share their experiences. It was soon realised that the task undertaken was rather difficult as very few women of that generation were alive and amongst those who were, most were confined to the house because of their age. The third important factor was that actresses from the upper caste background were comparatively easier to contact than the actresses of Devdasi origin. We were denied access to them by their family members who were rather ashamed of their past.

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