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The Art of the Possible: A research study on the cultural skills sector in India




The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai, is India’s premier cultural institution. NCPA’s overarching mission is to preserve, promote and propagate India’s rich and diverse cultural heritage besides providing a platform for the finest of international performing arts.


In order to inform the development of the programme and refine its learner targeting, the NCPA wanted a survey of technicians and designers in India, who work in the performing arts ecosystem, outlining their professional development needs.





  • To open the minds of and develop the skill sets of mid-career and seasoned professionals in the world of stage design, stage management and technical theatre

  • To embark upon a skills development programme aimed at enhancing the working experience of creative and technical teams in terms of methodology and a standardised environment to apply those practises.

  • To transform the NCPA into a well-organised and efficient producing house, creating world-class production on our stages and touring both nationally and internationally -- thereby positioning it as a prestigious hub for both training and opportunity.

The approach first involved mapping the transversal cultural skills landscape, and gaining initial insights through desk research and focus group discussions. This further informed preliminary and deeper interviews, which helped explore existing expertise in India, pathways to entry, business potential, labour market readiness of the culture industry, skills gaps (technical, not artistic),  market demand for skills education and programme delivery. Finally, an online survey was deployed to gather quantitative data that further bolstered the research.

55 stakeholders were consulted spanning 31 interviews and 5 focus group discussions. The online survey was further  undertaken by 150 respondents.


A report was produced for the NCPA to inform the development of its course, along with a public version accessible to the community.

Year: March 2021 - June 2021

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