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Welcome to Manch by Bhasha Centre, a dedicated platform to enhance the producorial capacity of Indian theatre groups. Manch focuses on finance management, programming, and marketing to ensure that the plays run profitably for a minimum of 25 shows. 

In our inaugural years of 2022 and 2023, Manch collaborated with eight theatre companies nationwide, supporting a diverse array of nine compelling plays. Each company brings a unique blend of artistic vision and producorial experience.

Over the past two seasons, these productions have been staged more than 100 times, captivating audiences across ten cities and participating in nine prominent theatre and cultural festivals. Along the journey, they've garnered prestigious awards and acclaim from both critics and audiences alike.

Stay connected with all the activities of Manch. 

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1. What is Manch?

Manch by Bhasha Centre is a platform dedicated to enhancing the producorial capacity of Indian theatre groups. With a specific focus on finance management, programming, and marketing. Bhasha Centre has collaborated with Paytm Insider for this initiative.

2. Who is it for?

Manch invites all theatre practitioners in India who are interested in enhancing their producorial capacity. Any theatre group who has a play that is already running or is under development, and wants to perform it for an extended run of shows (at least 25 shows).


 3. Timeline 

15th May 2024: Last date to send your application 

20th -25th May 2o24: Shortlisted applicants will be called for a virtual meeting

30th May: Selected applicants will be intimated.

1st week of June (dates to be confirmed): The selected applicants will have to attend a two day workshop in Mumbai 

4. How many groups will be selected? 

A maximum of four groups will be selected for Manch season 3.

5. What kind of plays can I submit for assistance under Manch? 

There is no bar on genre, language, age, form or subject. 

You can submit an application for any theatre production - under development or a running production. 

6. Can I send more than one application?

Yes, you can submit multiple entries.

7. I had applied for earlier editions of Manch, but the play was not selected. Can I apply with the same play again for this edition?

Yes, you can apply with the same play as per the current application requirements, keeping in mind feedback provided to you in the earlier edition, if any.

8. I’m of Indian origin living and practising theatre outside India, can I still apply?

No. Manch is currently supporting Indian theatre productions only. 

9. How does Manch aid our production? 

Most productions struggle with managing cash flow. How do you raise the money required to build the production and keep something aside for show-related expenses?

Manch offers an initial investment to help in setting up the play (build cost) that needs to be paid back over a mutually defined period of time. This pay-back is at a percentage of income generated and not a fixed sum, so it isn’t like an EMI on a loan, which you have to pay back regardless of how much you make. 

The financial assistance provided under Manch is not a grant or sponsorship. As mentioned above it is an interest free investment to enable the theatre group to take off their theatre production. 

10. What is the need for such a platform?

Independent theatre groups in India are often - and rightly - preoccupied with the ‘why’ of a play or production. Why am I telling this story, why is it important for people to watch it, why should the set or music be this way and not that, and so on.

But the moment we get into the ‘how’ of it, it becomes about ‘how much is it’? The cost of making a play today is not low, and not easy to come by. The risk of financial loss causes many productions and ideas to be halted before they can even be explored. 

A co-producing initiative mitigates the financial risk of your theatre group, while building within the group, the capacity for financial planning and strategic marketing.

11. How do I apply? 

Please fill in the Application form and submit it on or before 15th May 2024. 

The form requires you to submit:

  1. A budget for the build cost and per show run cost of your play. For your convenience we have shared a budget template in the application form.  

  2. Projections for possible income per show i.e. the ticket price x the number of seats at that venue, possible performance fees for a private/ invited show.

  3. A plan for the rest of the year (June- December 2024). 

12. Why should I apply?

Well, there’s the financial and publicity support, of course. But from our point of view, the need to apply should be driven by a need to take certain risks, by a need to try things on a producorial and programming level, similar to how one would try things in a rehearsal room. 

So, if you have a play you want to make, do consider that not all the learnings from the programming and running of this play can be applied to this play. Many times, you will learn things that will help you with the next one. So an idea of the kind of work you want to make consistently, so that this capacity that you earn here/now can be applied to another process later, will be critical both as a reason for you to apply and a reason for us to accept. 

13. What next?

We will chat with you to understand your financial planning and see what could make it more achievable. Maybe the answer is in spending a little less at the beginning, or in pricing your tickets differently, or in staying in your home city to avoid travel expenses or networking for more sponsored/ private shows. 

Our aim in doing this, is to make sure that everyone - you and us - reaches financial break even as quickly and painlessly as possible. 

Please note that the overall assessment of the production will be done on both artistic and financial aspects.

14. What about the ownership of the play? 

The show will be entirely YOURS. We will not interfere in any choices regarding the play. We will only suggest and advise. Since we are working with different groups in different venues and cities, with different strategies and perspectives, we can provide learnings from one project to another, as a sort of conduit of our community experience. 

Once we’ve agreed on your game plan, we will help you achieve it.

15. How will you help us achieve it? Will you help us sell tickets? Book venues? Get private shows or bulk bookings?

In short, yes. We will try and set up introductions, meetings, contacts to promote your show in various organisations and spaces. You can take the conversations forward, because you know your show best. Besides, we don’t want to be your managers, we would prefer that you were in charge of your show and its journey.

In terms of selling tickets, we will help you amplify your reach through social media, send out e-mailers to our database and so on.


16. What’s the catch? Any hidden costs? 

No hidden costs. Everything is communicated in advance. There are a couple of additional costs like convenience fees in ticketing for Paytm Insider and for us, and entertainment taxes, but all of this will be laid out in black and white for you to question and take an informed decision.


17. Any terms that could be considered pain points?

The only thing that might be considered painful is that all performances - private / invited or ticketed - that you get on your own or that we get for you - will fall under the terms of the agreement. But again, this is only so that everybody achieves break-even quicker. 

18. What if we just can’t repay the build cost? Will I have to sell my house? Or pay lawyers to fight a court case?

No, it won’t come to that. While we are not keen on making money, we don’t want anyone to lose money. And the thing about theatre is that over a period of time, maybe a long period, maybe a shorter one, productions do break even. It’s a question of cash flow, or staying power, of sustainable productions and strategic programming. We believe it is possible, we hope you will too. 

19. But we have always lost money on our shows. Always. Are we going wrong somewhere?

Let’s try and figure this out. Maybe your budgeting is optimistic, maybe there are other things to improve on like networking or scrounging, or setting realistic expectations. We plan on conducting some masterclasses and workshops on producing, budgeting and so on. Sign up for our newsletter for news on those. 

20. What about festivals and venues? Or training institutes? Can we also partner up?

Absolutely. We’d love to. Obviously, we haven’t thought of every scenario and eventuality, but we’re always open to ideas and collaborations. Get in touch!

21. Okay, is there anyone I can talk to about this?

Yes, sure. If you want to discuss anything further, contact and set up a meeting. We’ll take you through the details, go over the specifics of your production and budget if you have one, and you can take it from there.

If you are ready with the details we’re asking for, fill in the form. And we’ll be in touch very soon.


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