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Theatre costume

Theatre costume

  • Date:

    1985 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Papier mache and painted cotton

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Akademi

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Papier mache painted 'snake head attached to skirted hood of a black lattice-patterned cotton painted with pale purple kidney-bean shapes.


1985 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Papier mache and painted cotton


:, :, Height: 470 mm, Width: 330 mm, Depth: 130 mm, Weight: 3.25 kg

Object history note

The Adventures of Mowgli was commissioned by the Academy of Indian Dance (Akademi) and premiered in 1985. Choreography was by V P Dhananjayan and Pratap Pawar, who created the Kathak movement and the costumes were designed by Shanta Dhananjayan. While imaginative and practical, the designs reflect the financial constraints under which the Academy was working.

Historical significance: The Adventures of Mowgli was the first ever British professional Indian dance-drama. It was the first major production of the Academy of Indian Dance (Akademi) and was a major step in the development of a contemporary British South Asian dance style, blending various South Asian dance styles in a theme expressive of both British and Indian culture. The Academy wanted a subject accessible to eastern and western audiences in Britain while offering challenges to dancers in the South Asian dance tradition and John Chapman, co-Director of the Academy, came up with the idea of using Kipling's The Jungle Book. Choreographers V P Dhananjayan and Pratap Pawar, who created the Kathak movement, felt that it offered new and exciting possibilities for a dance style more often used to express the exploits of gods and heroes. The choreography blended North and South Indian styles of Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathakali and was a significant move in the development of traditional South Asian dance into a contemporary context. It was premiered in 1985 with a cast that included Shobana Jayasingh and one of the Academy's own pupils, ten-year-old Akram Khan, as Mowgli.

Descriptive line

Headdress for Kaa in Sri V P Dhananjayan's dance drama The Adventures of Mowgli, Academy of Indian Dance, 1985, designed by Craig Givens.


Papier mache; Cotton (textile); Paint


Glueing; Machine stitching; Painting


Theatre and Performance Collection

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