Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Oldest Indian comedy performed in Wales

22 March 2012

The oldest known Indian comedy is getting its European premiere after a Cardiff University academic produced a new translation of the work.

The Sanskrit comedy The Master Madam, translated by Dr Will Johnson of the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion will be performed at the East Moors Community Education Centre in Splott, Cardiff on the 29th and 30th of March 2012.

The production is a collaboration between members of different Cardiff communities - academics, professional theatre practitioners, and local people – to bring this funny, accessible work to a wider audience.

The comedy, which is in one act and attributed to an otherwise unknown playwright called Bodhayana, will be performed script-in-hand by a cast of professional actors and creatives including Ellora Adam, Boyd Clack, David Evans, Kirsten Jones, Gareth Pierce, Sule Rimi, Bobby Singh, Ruth Stringer, Jams Thomas, Sarah Louise Tyler. They will be joined on stage by members of the East Moors Community Centre Youth Club.

Speaking about the project, Dr Johnson, of the School’s Centre for the History of Religion in Asia said: "While classical Sanskrit drama has been known to the West since the late 18th century, Sanskrit comedies have been largely neglected outside India. This performance of The Master Madam, in a translation produced specifically for the Western theatre, provides a rare opportunity to enjoy a classic farce involving pompous yoga teachers, incompetent disciples, beautiful courtesans, and dodgy doctors."

Following the shows, Dr Johnson will lead a talk with the audience focusing on the Indian context of the play and exploring the challenges of bringing a new translation to life in the 21st century.

The performances start at 7.00pm on both days and are free. Advance booking is essential and places can be reserved at

The production is organised by the University’s Centre for the History of Religion in Asia in conjunction with Wing & Prayer, the National Theatre Wales Team, and Cardiff Youth Services.

Notes to editors

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University President Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Three major new Research Institutes, offering radical new approaches to neurosciences and mental health, cancer stem cells and sustainable places were announced by the University in 2010.

For further information, contact:

Victoria Dando, Public Relations, Cardiff University, Tel: 02920 879074, email: