Interested in theatre since her childhood, Dr Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry began looking for a vocabulary for training urban actors and found it in the traditional forms that still survived in the Panjab. Tradition for her has always been a living, dynamic reality capable of providing insights into the present. Her work, in its own way, has tried to seek a theatrical space that could bridge the gap between the rural and the urban, using tradition as a living and vital impulse capable of being transcribed onto a modern idiom.
Trained in the History of Art and in Theatre, she runs her own theatre company by the name ‘The Company’. She also teaches at the Department of Indian Theatre of the Panjab University. For over 25 years she has been working with a group of traditional actors from rural Punjab, called the Naqqals.
She has been the recipient of several awards including the Sangeet Natak Akademi award (2003), The Shiromani Bhasha Vibhag Award in 2004 and most recently the Padmashree in 2011.