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The 16 and 35 mm film reels, include Bharatanatyam performances by legendary artistes, as well movies by filmmakers like Satyajit Ray.
Only recently, a catalogue of the digitised audio content worth 6,000 hours and sourced from 5,622 tapes, 1,396 cassettes, and over 120 CDS covering a range of music styles, was made available on the NCPA’s website.
Most of the audio material was birthed in-house at the Little Theatre, which was constructed in 1973 with a studio. These recordings were then stored in their slowly, growing archive. Folk artistes were usually uncomfortable about recording in the studio. So, they would prefer singing in their chaubaras and temples; so the NCPA team would go to them in their recording van (in picture) and travel several miles to capture that sound.
The library will interest anyone who enjoys a good drama. With a brilliant collection of books on acting, theatre, television, and 800+ original scripts of plays written in English, Hindi and Marathi, there is a lot to browse and learn here. Apart from this, the library also has newspaper cuttings on artistes, actors, singers and directors et al. If you are researching on them, or want to know more about their life, it’s a great reason to visit the library.
The NCPA is also home to the world-famous Stuart-Liff Collection, comprising 6,000 books and 11,000 LPs on Western classical music. It was first donated by George Stuart and Vivian Liff in 2009 to Khushroo N Suntook, who then made room for it at the performing centre. Recently, another tome of 12,000 CDs from their collection was sent to Mumbai—work on cataloguing it is still underway.