The 6th Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards honoured some of the most talented and deserving names in the world of theatre

Among the most coveted theatre awards in the country, Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards 2014 (META) were announced this week in New Delhi. With a dramatic storm raging outside and serving as a fitting backdrop, the ceremony was held as a culmination of the five day festival which saw performances by eight theatre groups from across the length and breadth of the country.

This was META’s sixth instalment, and in this relatively short time, the award has made a lasting mark on the theatre map of India. This year, it saw over 300 entries, and a selection committee picked eight shortlisted plays to perform at the festival. A jury with some of the most eminent theatre personalities and critics watched these plays for the first time as they were staged from March 4-8.

META includes a total of 14 different categories, and Piya Behrupiya, Mumbai-based Company Theatre’s hilarious adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, was declared Best Play. It also took home awards for Best Supporting Actor, won by Amitosh Nagpal and Gagan Riar; Best Supporting Actress, won by Neha Saraf and a special Jury Citation for Script, awarded to Amitosh Nagpal for his Hindi translation of “Twelfth Night”. Piya Behrupiya also won the award for Best Ensemble Performance.

Abhinaya Theatre Research Centre's Malayalam adaptation of “Macbeth” emerged as the other big winner, with MG Jyothish selected Best Director. The company, in need of both funding and support, became an overnight sensation as Jyothish also bagged awards for Best Lighting Design, Best Costume Design and Best Choreography. Accepting his Light Design award, Jyothish said, “For me, lighting is the use of darkness.”

The award for Best Actor (Male) was won by Manoj Omen for by Saga Entertainment’s Moment Just Before Death and Best Actor (Female) went to M.D. Pallavi for Individual Performer's C Sharp C Blunt. C Sharp C Blunt was also awarded Best Original Script and Best Innovative Sound/Music Design while Liju Krishna from Moment Just Before Death took home the award for Best Stage Design.

META also took this opportunity to honour Girish Karnad with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Indian theatre. Ravi Dubey, the Creative Director of META, said that the festival had made for an exciting week of performances. “At META, we aspire to continue to inspire theatre activity across the country and across all languages,” he added.

Jay Shah, Sr. General Manager & Head Cultural Outreach, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., while congratulating the winners, said, “Every year we are seeing the bar being raised – be it the quality of performances, plays and even technical design. The Mahindra Group is committed in making a significant difference in the way theatre is supported and promoted in India. META is ample proof that the intent to encourage theatre from all corners of India in reaching higher standards of excellence has been successful.”