Deccan Chronicle | Bicycles power these Shakespeare Wallahs

The Handlebards are among the most unlikely theatre groups one can encounter. Since 2013, the Handlebards have clocked-up over 5000 miles with their cycle-powered brand of theatre, as they travel the world to perform Shakespeare.
Their very well-received 2015 tour of  Bengaluru has brought the Handlebards back for more, carrying, as they do, everything they need on the food bicycles they have between them. The troupe will perform two shows, over as many weekends in Jagriti theatre, starting this weekend.

In Midsummer Night's Dream, they take on all 40 characters, using the ring of a bicycle bell to mark the change. Their performance is marked by over-the-top gestures and downright whacky perspectives, brought together by their incomparable command over the bard's plays.

Hamlet will follow and those who know it to be a tragedy are in for quite the turnaround. Again, they swap characters with great deftness, sometimes playing more than one character at a time and having conversations with themselves as they prance across the stage switching costumes and props as well.


Jagriti is a Performance Arts space dedicated to Theatre, Music, Dance and Comedy. Founded in 2011 by Arundhati and Jagdish Raja, the space has hosted several productions from India and around the world. A 200-seat theatre, built around a full-thrust stage, it is fully equipped to cater to both artistes and audience. The main stage is designed for intimate performances with adjoining spaces for informal lectures and gatherings. Jagriti is owned and operated by the not-for-profit ART Foundation, a registered charitable trust.

The Rooftop - above the main auditorium is an open-to-sky space with a staging area that can accommodate about 50 people. A raised and walled off platform can work as a perfect area for puppet theatre. The Rooftop has a restroom and a pantry. 

The Terrace - alongside the auditorium, the Terrace can accommodate about 20 people as an informal gathering area.

Lumbini - extending out from the foyer, Lumbini has a stage and an open-to-sky terraced space for about 80 people.