•   Profile

Arun Agnihotri; b February 16, 1953 Allahabad; Artistic Director and Consultant, The Playhouse; Director, Outward Bound Programmes (National & International); Director, Living with the Tiger-India; Arts Education and Cultural Planner; AIEF Commonwealth Fellow; ASSITEJ India Liaison Officer; Special Consultant and Resource Person: Alternate Education, Creative Drama, Children’s Theatre, Theatre and Drama-in-Education, Activities for Children with Special Needs, Drama Therapy, Communication, Refresher Courses for Teachers, Adventure Playgrounds; Member and Centre Correspondent, International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ); directed over 30 plays in India and abroad; 65 workshops and Master Classes conducted in India and abroad; 18 International representations; publs – 15 research papers in national and international journals, illustrations/visuals for UNICEF publication. Resource material for International Guide to Children’s Theatre; over 25 years experience of working with children and young people in different capacities – Theatre Arts, Alternate Education, Guidance and Counselling; Wildlife Conservationist.

Resigning his National School of Drama Merit Scholarship at the end of the II Year, Arun Agnihotri eventually founded The Playhouse which has gained recognition not only in India but also at the International level. One of the initiators of Theatre-in-Education in the country he still remains the ‘rebel voice’ of the Indian Theatre and Education scenario. With numerous plays/workshops/master classes in India and abroad he is known for his innovative work in the areas of Story-Telling and Reading, Puppet and Mask–making, Alternate Education, Drama Therapy, Arts Education, Teacher Training and Children with Special Needs. Once called the ‘Pied-piper of India’ by a national daily, he has had teaching stints in Denmark, Norway, and Australia; worked as a Consultant/Resource Person for many schools/colleges and institutions like NID, NCERT, NIMH, NIPCCD, NIFT, IICD, Oil India, UNICEF, ASSITEJ, IDEA, CASE, GEDA, ICDS et al. Known to a select few, his constant parallel occupation has been a deep involvement in environment & wildlife issues. He is the Founder Director of the ‘Living with the Tiger’ Project. Prior to turning a freelance professional in 1980 – work experience in Advertising and Copy-writing (Readact Communication Service), Editing (Baroda Productivity Council), Communication, Personnel Management (Jyoti Limited), Sales & Marketing and HRD Training (Methodex Systems/Blue Star Ltd. /Howard Finlay).

Arun Agnihotri’s family background is bound in an atmosphere of books, travelling and field-based learning. His paternal roots can be traced back to the 1400’s. Rejecting the Zamindari way of life, his great grandfather was given shelter by the then Maharaja of Kota and the head of the family remained in the service of the Kota Gharana till the early Sixties. His grandmother was the first Principal of the Girls’ school of the State. Arun’s father "www.bharat-rakshak.com/IAF/History/1940s/Agni-index.html" was in the first batch of Indian fighter pilots of the Royal Indian Air Force. After postings in England and Burma, his father continued in the Indian Air Force with batch-mate stalwarts like Pinto, Mukherjee and the Engineer brothers. He subsequently joined the Indian Railway Traffic Service and held senior positions like, GM Northern Railway and Principal, Railway Staff College.

Educational and ethical influences from the maternal side have been extensive too. The family were in the service of the Almora State as Diwans. His maternal grandfather, Pandit Sriram Sharma was a teacher, hunter, writer and freedom fighter. Headmaster of the first High School in Tehri Garhwal, he was Jim Corbett’s colleague and later under the guidance of Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, jumped into the political arena. Compatriot of Aacharya Kriplani, Puroshottam Das Tandon, Govindvallabh Pant, Kedar Nath Bhatt, K.D. Paliwal, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai and Kailashnath Katju; Shriram Sharma was imprisoned for many years by the British. In the annals of Indian History, he is known as the prime accused in the 1942 King Emperor v/s Sri Ram Sharma Agra Conspiracy Case. Most of the Sharma family was in prison till 1945 with 3 sons expiring during this period of incarceration. Pandit Sriram Sharma was also the first person in India to write series of books on Indian wildlife; close associate of Pearl Buck he was the editor of ‘Vishaal Bharat’.