Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Arts: Theater: South Asia
(1,960 words)

Theater as an independent institution occupying a permanent physical structure existed in early India (ca. third century B.C.) and developed in the mid-nineteenth century with the importation of the proscenium stage from Europe. Throughout its history, theater was intertwined with other performing arts, especially dance, music, and poetry, and was enmeshed with religious rituals, popular festivals, and courtly entertainments. Until recently, hereditary sub-castes (jati) of low rank provided most of the personnel. Female performers were doubly stig matized, being viewed …

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Hansen, Kathryn, “Arts: Theater: South Asia”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 21 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0298e>
First published online: 2009

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