Shumang Leela A Platform for Cultural and Development Communication Discourse


Shumang Leela which means ‘Courtyard performance’ is a Manipuri theatrical art form considered to have developed in the 19th and 20th century. The paper discusses how the theatrical art form broke the monopoly of art as being accessible only by the upper caste, the so called elite sections of the society and began acting as a community development media having the role of entertaining, enlightening, instructing, educating and sensitizing the public on various issues relevant to the society within the cultural context and space of the Manipuris. Though secular in nature it has found its ritualistic space as the theatre form is integrated in different life cycles of a person in the Manipuri culture. It is a medium of development communication to spread social awareness to people through its meaningful themes and enactments which portray the socio-politico-economic issues of the people not only in Manipur but also globally. Shumang Leela is popular for its ‘Nupi Shabis’ who are actually male actors performing female roles. The paper further explores the important issue on Transgender identity of the performers known as ‘Nupi Shabis’, as the theatre form is their platform and community. Shumang Leela is a stage for cultural communication of the Manipuri society. It is also a model for development communication using traditional media, a communication system embedded in the cultural context. Even where mass media has penetrated, Shumang Leela has proved its validity to sensitize people’s thinking to promote change.

Author Information
Machunwangliu Kamei, Donbosco University, India

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2015
Stream: Critical and Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the MediAsia2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon