• Established in 1980.
  • Offers a one-year diploma in theatre arts; syllabus modelled on NSD; with emphasis on working in non-urban conditions.
  • 15-20 students taken in every year; all get scholarships covering food and stay expenses.
  • Ten-month intensive residental training; classes between 7 am and 9 pm.
  • 3 major productions prepared every year.


  • A total of 595 students (434 male and 161 female) from all parts of Karnataka have completed the course.
  • 80% of the past students are active in non-commercial theatre and related cultural activites.
  • At least one alumnus is seen associated with every major Kannada theatre event today.
  • Has produced more than 150 plays, which include Kannada, western, and Indian language works.


  • The total expenditure of the Institute was approximately Rs. 50,000 in 1980; Rs. 5,00,000 in 1990; Rs. 15,00,000 in 2002; Rs. 24,00,000 in 2010; Rs. 38,00,000 in 2017. more than 80% of this has been spent on salary and scholarships.
  • The major source of income is the annual grant from the Dept. of Kannada and Culture, Govt. of Karnataka, which covers 90% of the expenditure. For the rest, donations are sought.

Begun in 1980 and recognized by the State Govt. of Karnataka, the institute offers a 10-month diploma certificate course in theatre arts which is roughly modelled on the three-year Bachelor’s Course offered by the National School of Drama, New Delhi. With an intake of about 15 students every year, the institute has so far turned out more than 500 trainees, a large majority of whom have engaged themselves full-time or part-time in Kannada theatre or other allied fields like journalism, socio-cultural activism, primary education, and now in the emerging field of television.