META Lifetime Achievement honour for theatre stalwart Barry John

New Delhi, Mar 6 (PTI) Veteran theatre director and teacher Barry John has been chosen for Lifetime Achievement honour for 2020 at the upcoming Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META).

The 76-year-old, mentor to who's who of Bollywood including Shahrukh Khan, Manoj Bajpayi, Mira Nair and Lillete Dubey, will be conferred upon with the award on March 19 along with the winners of the 15th META festival.

Born and educated in the UK, John, who has lived and worked in India since 1968, was founder-director of Delhi's most acclaimed company, 'Theatre Action Group'. Brain behind the CBSE curriculum for theatre, he was also on the faculty of the National School of Drama (NSD), where he taught and directed actors like Anupam Kher, Pankaj Kapoor, Anu Kapoor, Surekha Sikri and Manohar Singh.

'This is indeed a landmark year for the META and as we look forward to the 15th edition, we are also delighted to be giving away the 10th Lifetime Achievement Award to a theatre legend, Barry John.

'His contribution to stagecraft, especially his focus on introducing theatre into the school education system, the use of drama therapy and his role in shaping the theatre and performance industry have been invaluable. On behalf of the Mahindra Group and the META Festival Secretariat, I congratulate him and applaud his spirit to rise!,' Jay Shah, vice-president, head (Cultural Outreach) at the Mahindra Group, said.

A published author and recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi National Award, John has also acted in critically-acclaimed films like 'Shatranj ke Khiladi', 'Massey Sahib', 'Gandhi', 'Tamas', 'Miss Beatty’s Children', 'The Last Viceroy', 'The Frontier Gandhi' and 'Tere Bin Laden'.

'Having hung up my boots (forgive the football analogy) some years ago, it comes as a surprise to be remembered and awarded, especially to be counted among the distinguished list of past awardees. It is indeed an honour,' John said on announcement of the recognition.

In previous years, the META Lifetime Achievement Award has been conferred on luminaries of Indian theatre including Vijaya Mehta, Arun Kakade, Ratan Thiyam, Girish Karnard, Ebrahim Alkazi, Heisnam Kanhailal, Khaled Chowdhary, Zohra Sehgal, Badal Sarkar and Mahesh Elkunchwar.

The week-long event, featuring plays in Hindustani, Assamese, Bengali, English, Hindi, Malayalam, will be staged here at the Kamani Auditorium and Shri Ram Centre, starting March 13.

The jury for this year awards include eminent playwright and filmmaker Mahesh Dattani, veteran actor Sushma Seth, celebrated actor and theatre director Saurabh Shukla, actor-writer Vinay Pathak, television and theatre actor Lillete Dubey, and media expert Shailja Kejriwal. PTI MG MG