Norah Richards – The great grandmother of Punjab theatre

By | April 25, 2020

Q. When/Where did Norah Richards born? 

Ans: Norah Richards was born on 26 October 1876 in Ireland.

Q. How did Norah Richards come to India? 

Ans: Norah Richards came to India with her husband Mr. Philip Richards in 1911 A.D. He was a professor of English at the Dayal Singh College of Lahore. During her stay at Lahore, she devoted herself to dramatic activities. As ill-luck would have it, Norah was widowed in 1920. She left India immediately only to return in September 1924, after four years.

Q. What was the passion of Norah Richards? 

Ans: She was a perfect ruralite devoted to the promotion of art and culture. was later called the Lady Gregory of Punjab. She devoted 60 years (1911–1971) of her life towards enriching the culture of the area. She came to Punjab in 1911 and produced the first Punjabi play, Dulhan (“The Bride”), written by her pupil I.C. Nanda in 1914. Politics as a game never interested her.

Q. What were the educational achievements of Norah Richards?

Ans: She received her formal education in institutions in around the world, mainly Belgium,  Oxford University, and Sydney. On 29th October 1970, she was conferred on the honorary degree of D.Litt. by the Punjab University.

Q. Where did Norah Richards live in Himachal Pradesh? 

Ans: In May 1925, she came to settle in Kangra valley first at Banuri and ten years later at Andretta. Her Woodlands Retreat in Andretta is a sanctum which she had been shaped after ideas on rural culture. Her open-air theatre is still there on her estate. The village of Andretta’would not have shot into prominence, had Norah Richards not favoured it as her choice of abode.

Q. Who were the closest friends of Norah Richards? 

Ans: Her closest friends were Jai Dayal (stage artist), B.C. Sanyal (painter), Sardar Sobha Singh (painter), and Sardar Gurcharan Singh (artist of pottery).

Q. Norah Richards had been influenced by the writings of which writers? 

Ans: Norah Richards had been influenced by the writings of Walt Whitman, Edward Carpenter, Henry David, Thoreau & Leo Tolstoy.

Q. What were the Published works of Norah Richards? 

Ans: The Flower Maker (1910), Sati (1914), Mare Brooms (1933), Drama in Education (1945), Historical Playlets (1946), Mother Earth (1956), Biography of the Noted Scientist, Village Play (1955), Play Writing and Play Making (1956), The Son Comic Home (1956), S. Bhatnagar’ (1949), In Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Passing of Philip Ernest Richards 1875-1920 (1970) and Country Life (1970).

Q. When did Norah Richards die? 

Ans: Norah Richards passed away on 4th March 1971. She had many admirers both in India and abroad. In Punjab, the people had acclaimed her as the great grandmother of Punjab theatre.

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