Art Street: Discover Art Hubs And Cultural Hotspots Where Mumbai Comes Together

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There is never a dull day in Mumbai. Constantly buzzing with activities, this city provides varied sources of entertainment to Mumbaikars. The drama enthusiast, dance lover, music connoisseur; everyone has something to satiate their hobbies. And what we get is an amalgamation of talent, various art forms and cultures. Offering the perfect setting for like-minded people to come together are the multipurpose auditoriums present across the city. Better addressed as cultural auditoriums, these venues serve as favorite haunts for those looking to indulge in any form of art or entertainment.

So let’s take a look at these cultural auditoriums that have hosted and continue to be home to renowned artists and memorable events.

The Manganiyar Seduction at NCPA. Image by roystenabel.com

NCPA – The National Centre for Performing Arts located at Nariman Point is a multipurpose centre that hosts various art forms including dance, music, theatre and more. Started in 1969, it has five auditoriums with different seating capacities to suit the requirement of the event. The ‘Jamshed Baba Theatre’ (1109 seats) is equipped for hosting large-scale cultural events ranging from opera to ballets and so on.

The ‘Tata Theatre’ (1010 seats) was conceived by American architect Philip Johnson and has an excellent acoustic set up making it ideal for cultural art programs. Popularly known as the ‘black box’ venue, the ‘Experimental Theatre’ (285 seats) is an innovative space for unique presentations and productions. NCPA also houses a ‘Dance Theatre’ (178 seats) which hosts intimate dance and music performances while the ‘Little Theatre’ (114 seats) is used for film screenings, workshops and the likes.

The NCPA has hosted grand spectacles such as Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Shiamak Davar’s ‘We care show’, the ET Awards, The Symphony Orchestra of India, various theater festivals and other events. The NCPA is also equipped with a recording studio and an impressive art gallery amongst other things.

Where: NCPA Marg, Nariman Point
Contact: 022 6622 3737

International Women’s Day event at Fine Arts Society. Image by narthaki.com

Fine Arts Society – Situated in Chembur, the Fine Arts Society is an artistic hub not just for Chemburites but people from all over the place. It is one of the few cultural venues in the area and celebrated its Golden Jubilee last year. The ‘Sivaswamy Auditorium’ at Fine Arts has a capacity of 1301 seats set across two levels. It is an apt venue for cultural programs of all types, corporate events, annual day celebrations, educational seminars and more. Orchestras and classical dance performances are organized here on a regular basis.

They have an ‘art plaza’ which can house exhibitions and displays accommodating around 400 people. A ‘mini concert chamber’ is also available for functions with limited number of audience. Artists who have graced the stage here include Sarod maestros Aman and Ayaan Ali Khan, Pandit Jasraj, Danseuse Hema Malini alongwith daughters Esha and Ahana, and many others. The Fine Arts Society is also home to a Music School which trains students in various instruments and vocals too.

Where: The Fine Arts Society, Fine Arts Chowk, Ramakrishna Chemburkar Marg, Chembur
Contact: 022 2522 1504

Hema Malini’s Meera at Shanmukhananda Hall. Image by shanmukhananda.com

Shanmukhananda Hall – The key objective behind the formation of this centre was the promotion of Fine Arts in Mumbai. The Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha & Fine Arts was established in 1952 in Sion and has since then recurrently promoted budding artists, brought established artists closer to their audience and provided a platform for various fine arts. With a capacity of 2763 seats, the ‘Shanmukhananda Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi Auditorium’ is a blend of structural engineering and architectural aesthetics where events of various statures can be conducted.

The auditorium where eminent personalities including M. S. Subbulakshmi, Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ustad Zakir Hussian, Lata Mangeshkar, a Scottish Hypnotist and even Stephen Hawking have interacted and performed, witnessed its 15000th performance on May 11th, 2013. The day was marked with three sessions including a classical and folk dance performance by a Chennai troupe. Shanmukhananda Hall also has two other venues which includes the ‘Padma Ranga Chamber Music Hall’ (125 seats) dedicated to music performances and the ’Jasubhai Convention Hall’ which is perfect for small concerts.

Where: 292, Com. Harbanslal Marg, Sion East
Contact: 022 24078888

Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma and Zakir Hussain performing at Nehru Center. Image by coresectorcommunique.blogspot

Nehru Centre: Best known for the Nehru Planetarium, the Nehru Centre was conceived in 1972 in Worli. The famous edifice also houses a state of the art auditorium, an art gallery and cultural wing amongst other facilities. While the ‘Nehru Centre Auditorium’ has a capacity of 917 seats and is provided for lectures, conferences, company meetings and other activities, the ‘Nehru Centre Art Gallery’ promotes young talent and also exhibits the work of famous painters and sculptors.

They have held exhibitions of celebrated artists including the likes of M.F. Husain, K.K. Hebbar, Prabhakar Barwe, Akbar Padamsee and many others. With a view to encourage young artists, a specially designed ‘Culture Wing’ organizes programs of various performing art forms. Some of their past events include the Kalpana Ek Avishkar Anek – Marathi one act play competition, Basant Bahar – classical musical festival, Parampara – national dance festival, dramas like The Class Act etc.

Where: Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli
Contact:  022 24964676

The East India Co.medy troupe at St.Andrews Auditorium. Image by inonit.com

St. Andrews Auditorium – The St. Andrew’s Auditorium is one of the best equipped college auditoriums and a popular venue for several events. With a seating capacity of 800+, the auditorium at Bandra has an excellent infrastructural system and is used for both in-house and external events. The auditorium has witnessed several plays including the famous Class of 84, The President is coming etc. It has also conducted dance recitals, jazz performances by Legendary Jan Lundgren Trio and Tonbruket, a Blues music concert, stand-up comedy acts, the recent Ghanta Awards and various other presentations.

Where: St. Andrews College, St Domnic Road, Behind Holy Family Hospital, Bandra West
Contact:  022 2642 8684

Gracy Singh performing at Ravindra Natya Mandir. Image by india-forums.com

Ravindra Natya Mandir – Located in Prabhadevi near the Siddhivinayak Temple, Ravindra Natya Mandir is one of the former cultural institutions in the city. There are two auditoriums in the premises. The larger one with a seating capacity of 911 is largely used for classical music and dance performances. The smaller hall is a mini theater with a seating capacity of 199. Dramas, film screenings and other events which require a more intimate setting are organized here. Ravindra Natya Manidr also has an art gallery where various photography and art exhibitions are held. They also host various creative workshops and the recent Mumbai Women’s International Film Festival was held at Ravindra Natya Mandir.

Where: Sayani Marg, Near Siddhivianayak Temple, Prabhadevi
Contact: 022 24312956

National Seminar on Women at Sophia Bhabha Auditorium. Image by WomensSpaces
WomensVoicesInMumbai Facebook.

Sophia Bhabha hall: The Sophia Bhabha Hall which is situated within the campus of Sophia College for Women is a well-known venue for plays, musical events and exhibitions. Formerly the location for a multipurpose hall, the space was transformed in 1977 into the present Sophia Bhabha Hall.  Owned and managed by Sophia College Management, the high-tech auditorium can accommodate over 700 visitors. Some of the events hosted at the venue include an annual exhibition cum sale of the work of students from SPJ Sadhana School, 9 short plays by Rage Productions, a series of lectures by filmmakers in Director’s Special, a Rock night and various such unique events.

Where: Sophia College, Opp Breach Candy Hospital, Bhulabhai Desai Road
Contact: 022 2353 8550

Hindi play Bhamashah at Rangsharda Auditorium. Image by buzzintown.com

Rangsharda: Situated at Bandra Reclamation, the Rangsharda hotel has an auditorium equipped to seat 800 people. One of the famous auditoriums of the city, Rangsharda has witnessed several theatre productions in addition to cultural performances, conferences and other entertainment events. Some of the Hindi plays performed here include ‘Bas Itna Sa Khwab’, ‘Rishto Ka Live Telecast’, ‘Santa Banta Ke Comedy Tadke’ and others. They also host regular workshops for kids and adults, a recent one being a short story writing workshop which was headed by Prasoon Joshi.

Where: Near Lilavati Hospital, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra West
Contact:  022 2640 1919

Gujarati play at Kalidas Natya Mandir. Image by mumbaitheatreguide.com

Mahakavi Kalidas Natya Mandir: The Kalidas Natya Mandir at Mulund is a destination frequently visited by theater lovers in the area. With a seating capacity of 1500 people, the auditorium is suitable for seminars, lectures, press conferences etc.  But it’s the dramas and other art performances that regularly pull crowds. The events that have successfully concluded here include ‘Pyar Ke Rang’- a musical evening paying tribute to yesteryear singers, ‘Nayan Ne Bandh Rakhi Ne’ – a performance featuring Gujarati songs and poems and several plays in varied regional languages.

Where: Priyadarshini Indira Gandhi Krida Sankul, Near Pancha Rasta, Purshottam Kheraj Road, Mulund West
Contact: 022 25612722

A marathi play at Shivaji Natya Mandir. Image by burrp.in

Shivaji Natya Mandir: Located at Shivaji Park, Shivaji Natya Mandir has been in existence for over 60 years. The venue has an auditorium which can seat 1032 people and is solely used for Marathi drama and stage performances. They also have a conference hall and art gallery used for book exhibitions and exhibits of other kinds. Several famous plays including ‘Barrister’ by Vikram Gokhale, ‘Family Drama’, ‘Karun Gele Gaav’, ‘Ek Chavat Samdhyakaal’ and others have been showcased here.

Where: NC Kelkar Road, Opp Plaza Cinema, Shivaji Park, Dadar West
Contact: 022 24304566

Don’t forget to keep a tab on the schedules of these venues to catch your favorite artists in action!

Post By Esha Verma (33 Posts)

Writing is a passion I discovered a little late. But better late than never. When not penning my thoughts, you'll find me sniffing around for good food - trying out every new restaurant in town is a hobby. I swear by Hindi films and when doing nothing of the above you'll find me troubling my pet pooch.

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Esha Verma

Esha Verma
Writing is a passion I discovered a little late. But better late than never. When not penning my thoughts, you'll find me sniffing around for good food - trying out every new restaurant in town is a hobby. I swear by Hindi films and when doing nothing of the above you'll find me troubling my pet pooch.