‘Shumang Leela needs space for international performance’

Inability to develop proper space is the reason art and culture is unable to flourish in Manipur, Doyen of Manipuri theatre Ratan Thiyam said.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 13 Apr 2023, 6:00 am


Doyen of Manipuri theatre Ratan Thiyam on Wednesday asserted that a state of the art performing space is the need of the hour if ‘Manipuri Shumang Leela’ is to be upgraded onto an international platform.

He added that authorities concerned should be ashamed for their inability to create a suitable modern space even after decades for the state’s authentic traditional theatre art.

He was speaking at the 23rd Shumang Leela Day celebration and Iboyaima Award presentation at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, Palace Compound, Imphal. The celebration has been organised by Manipur State Shumang Leela Council.

He maintained that although Iboyaima Shanglen had been established to exhort Shumang Leela, it had not evolved much. There are numerous aspects which still need to be developed, he added.


“If we want to upgrade shumang leela to global standards, we need a proper performing space suited to that level; such inability to develop proper space is the reason art and culture is unable to flourish in Manipur,” he said.

Ratan stated that comfort of artistes and audience should be the primary priority in construction of such spaces. He added that theatre architecture also symbolizes the status of the art form.

He maintained that shumang leela will not move unless such developments are ushered in.

He further exhorted both authorities and shumang leela practitioners to strive collectively in developing and making shumang leela internationally recognised.

“Shumang leela is the most popular folk tradition out of all the folk traditions across the country. No other folk tradition comes close to the popularity of shumang leela,” he added.

He said that the popularity of shumang leela is all because of the strong foundations laid down by the past practitioners of the art form. He emphasized the need to discuss the trajectory of the art form and where the people want to take it in the coming years.


“We should discourse on the current status of shumang leela, how it has evolved and what dimensions can be developed,” he informed. He stated that proper facility and understanding of the art form could foster new perspectives and development for shumang leela.

During the celebration, the Iboyaima Award for 2023 was awarded to famed Shumang Leela playwright Oinam Lukhoi, popularly known as ‘Chana Lukhoi’ for his contribution to the growth of the traditional theatre art.

Other shumang leela artistes and practitioners were also honoured during the celebration.

Panthou Sanggai’, the Best Production winner of the 51st Shumang Leela festival 2022-23 by Lamjingba Artistes Association was also shown as part of the celebration.

President of Manipur State Shumang Leela Council M Purnimashi Leima, State Kala Akademi awardee Ph Gunachandra Sharma and other renowned personalities of shumang leela were present at the event.


First published:


courtyard playratan thiyammanipur shumang leelatheatre art

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur


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