Inspired by an ancient epic-singing tradition, Pandvani108 clattered noisily onto the storytelling scene in 2011. What began as an experiment fast became one of the most exciting new touring companies in the UK.
We tell episodes drawn from international myth and epic in wild short-form style, in performances that combine a storyteller, a ‘Ragi’ (whose interjections spur the narrative ever onwards), and a genius, improvised backing band. Accessibility, energy & immediacy is at the heart of what we do. Our audiences need absolutely no prior knowledge of the artform or the stories we tell, which makes our work audience development gold!
We perform for contemporary adult audiences in theatres, festivals, arts centres, castles, and sometimes on street corners. Audiences describe us as ‘inspirationally brilliant’, ‘stunning’, ‘totally addictive’, ‘an unquestionable highlight’!
We take our inspiration from a 3,000 year old epic storytelling tradition that still thrives in the rural, Chattisgarh region of Central India. Pandvani (or Pandavani) literally means the telling of the stories of the five brothers – namely The Mahabharata.
This traditional Pandvani represents a rare unbroken professional oral performative tradition that dates back to the Bronze Age. Performances last anything from a few hours to a couple of days. It’s essentially a musical theatre, epic storytelling mash-up, for which payment used to be a piece of cloth, a coconut and a nutmeg….
Our absolute favourite Pandvani performer is the fabulous Ritu Verma, whom we were lucky enough to train with in Stockholm, in 2012.