Shahman Shahriar

Shahman Shahriar

Shakespeare Institute
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Staging Shakespeare through translation and adaptation in Bangladesh
SupervisorProfessor Michael Dobson and Dr. Manu Sehgal
PhD Shakespeare Studies


  • BA (Honours) and MA from the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.


I am a scholar-artist-activist-practitioner and educator with a deep and singular understanding of the roots, histories, and power of performance. This 4-way commitment and excellence in artistry, scholarship, pedagogy, all directed with a passionate outward activist focus to making the world a better place reflected from the I works I have done.

I teach theatre and performance at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh. Currently, I am on leave to pursue my PhD at the University of Birmingham. I aim to create a galvanizing point of my profession and the passion that motivates me to write the play, to direct theatre, to facilitate workshops, to do research and creative dialogue among the diversified communities across the globe.

My research and practice negotiates the synthesized form of European modern theatrical idiom and creative imagination which is based on the paradoxical location of postcolonial identity in Bangladesh. The experimental theatre that I both create and engage with aims to create a new theatre language that reflects ‘post-traditional’ performance aesthetics.

In researching and creating theatre and performance, I believe in eminent Bengali philosopher and songwriter Fakir Lalon Shah’s idea that "sristi korle shorik achhe" (these Bengali words can be translated as "the creation is a collaboration''). Being enlightened by Gilles Deleuze, I rearticulate that my creative epistemic positionality enthusiastic to create a line of flight in collaboration with other creative and critical beings through the deterritorialization of the rigid system of the enclosure.


Assistant Professor (on leave), Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.


This doctoral project sets its vision to explore an ambivalent and postcolonial hybrid Shakespeare and political aesthetics of identity in Bangladesh and the Bengali diaspora community in the UK through translation and adaptation. The current state of knowledge about Shakespeare studies confirms that the great author is omnipresent across the world with the ‘universality’ of his plays’ themes, his ability to transcend linguistic, racial and geographical barriers as a symbol of ‘liquid modernity’ which made him ‘a ‘rhizomatic’ figure’ – decentred, irrepressible, erupting and ‘disturbingly relevant.’

The mutual interaction and creative negotiations among Shakespeare and other cultures consequently became a vital exponent of Shakespeare studies. In the current state of knowledge on global Shakespeare, there are numerous research works, scholastic and critical engagements about Shakespeare in Africa, Arab, Latin America, and Russia, China, Japan and even in India and Pakistan of the subcontinent. But there is no systematic and critically analytical study of staging Shakespeare in Bangladesh, though from the mid eighteenth century Shakespeare was regularly staged in colonial Bengal. After the country’s independence in 1971, Shakespeare has become an important proponent of landscape of Bangladeshi theatre and culture as a transformative playwright. Since the nature and significance of the interaction between Shakespeare and Bangladeshi theatre and culture have not been examined in depth in either Bengali or Western Academic Circles, this proposed research on Shakespeare in Bangladesh is, thus, an attempt to fill this epistemic gap. This research will focus on how theatre of Shakespeare’s translated and adopted plays make a discursive context for artistic, social, and political acts in Bangladesh. This project will employ the empirical approach to collect while it would like to exercise a theoretical framework that incorporates the idea of “hybridity” from the postcolonial theories. It would give a strong theoretical foundation to understand critically the case of Shakespeare in theatre of Bangladesh as it has a long genealogy of British colonization and the “internal colonization” of Pakistan as well as the choreographic socio-politico cultural conditions of itself and the effects of contemporary globalization. Therefore, this research will be able to chart a new territory in contemporary Shakespeare studies and to create new ideas in current state of knowledge about intercultural performances, theories of adaptation, globalization and post-colonialism.

Other activities

Papers Presented

  • An only paper about Harold Pinter and his works was presented by me at the seminar of Pinter Festival in 2006 organized by the department in collaboration with British Council Bangladesh.
  • Another paper about the social action and aesthetic action in applied theatre that was presented in 2011 which was organized by BITA (Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Arts).
  • A paper on “Curriculum of Bengali literature and performing arts in higher education in Bangladesh” was presented at School of South Asian Studies in Yunan Minzu University, Kunming, China, 2016.
  • I have presented a paper on dramatist Sayeed Ahmad in the closing session of a 9 daylong seminar organized by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (Bangladesh National Academy for Fine and Performing Arts) in 2016 in Dhaka.
  • One of two papers is on “Asian strength in Contemporary Performance Culture” and the other one is on “the Role of Text in Contemporary Theatre Practice” presented by me in 9th Asia Pacific Bureau Theatre School Meet New Delhi from 19-25 October of 2016 which was organized by National School of Drama (NSD), India.

Workshop Conducted

  • A workshop titled “Ethnographic Sensibility for Acting” conducted by me in collaboration with my department’s colleagues wherein NSD and other Asia Pacific region’s theatre School’s students were participants that was held in 9th Asia Pacific Bureau Theatre School Meet New Delhi from 19-25 October 2016 organized by National School of Drama, India.
  • In 35th ITI World Congress at Segovia in Spain, I have conducted two workshops on the new phase of Ethnographic Sensibility for Acting in cooperation with my department’s colleagues wherein Euro-American-Asian students-teachers-artists were the participants.

Workshop Participated

  • A 7 day long workshop on Acting and Ritual conducted by Dr. Juri Alshitz in Nauruz Festival at Kamal Galiasgar Tatar Theatre, Tatarstan, Russia in 2014.
  • A workshop on the idea of Home in contemporary theatre which was conducted by Dr. Derek Goldman, Professor at Georgetown University, USA in 35th ITI World Congress at Segovia in Spain. 

International Theatre Residency

  • A one month long residency with Indian, Japanese and Korean performers to create performances based on “Asian possibilities in performing arts” hosted by Theatre Minduelle , Seoul, South Korea in 2014.

Award and Fellowship

  • In youth mobilization category I have been awarded for Charles Wallace Visiting Fellowship 2014/2015 from Charles Wallace Trust and British Council. For this I have been visited Queen Marry University of London and working with Ali Campbell who is a Reader in applied performance of the School of English and Drama at QMUL.


  • Participated international theatre workshops, talks, seminars and festivals held in India, South Korea, Dubai and Sharjah (UAE), Tatarstan and Moscow (Russia), UK, China, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal and Italy.

Research Work commissioned by the Government of Bangladesh

  • Worked as the chief researcher in a research project titled “Children engagement in cultural activities: A survey on primary and high school students in urban and rural areas of Bangladesh” in 2017 which was commissioned by Bangladesh Shishu Academy (Bangladesh Children Academy), Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.


Book (under the press)

  • Poshak-parikalpanar Nandan-bikksan(written with  Wahida Mollick. This is a book on costume design that explores methodological and critical discussion in context of Bangladeshi theatre).

(Critical) Chapters in Books

  • “Narrative of Pseudo Myths” in Mustafa Zaman and Zeenat Ahmed, eds., Ronni Ahmmed: the Cosmic Ark, Mermaid Art Foundation, Cox’s Bazar, 2013 , pp.47-53
  •  “A Narrative of Mythic Memory Exploring Archetypal Images of the Collective Mind,” ibid, pp.74-85
  • “Theatre in Universities of Bangladesh” (written in bengali), in Israfeel Shaheen ed., Paribeshana Shilpakala (lit. Performing Arts), Bangladesh Asiatic Society, Dhaka, 2007, pp. 308-321 

(Creative) Books Published

  • Asheshkritya (Unending Rite) in Bengali which is a play that was published in February 2016 by Adarsha, Dhaka, ISBN 978-984-92068-0-4.
  • Phona and Surak (Serpent Hood and Perforation) in Bengali which contains two plays that was published in February 2018 by Adarsha, Dhaka, ISBN 978-984-9266-23-5.
  • Kalchoutisha (Rhythm of Time) in Bengali which is a play that was published in February 2018 by Adarsha, Dhaka, ISBN 978-984-9266-22-8.

Articles Published

  • Epic Theatre Banam Marxbadi Kabyatattwa : Bertolt Brechter Theatre Niye Augusto Boaler Bahas,  Agrobeej,  Vol. 11, Issue. 1, Dallas, 2018.
  • New Media: the locus of rebirth (with Sharmillie Rahman and Mustafa Zaman),Depart, January-June 2017, Vol.8, Issue 22
  • Mapping signs and sites of new praxes and paradigms (with Depart Desk),Depart, January-June 2017, Vol.8, Issue 22
  •  A Reading of Rabindranath Tagore’s Play Bishorjon, Fragments Magazine ( an online magazine on politics art and culture, 
  • Natya O Paribeshana Bidyar Dristite Bangabandhur Satai Marcher Bhason, Ekobingsho (Not mentioned):31, 2017, pp. (157-167).
  • Sayeed Ahmad’s examination of theatre: absurd vision, metaphor of Bengal and the synthesis between liberal humanism and nationalism, Sahittya Patrika, Vol. 53, No. 2, February 2016, University of Dhaka, Dhaka 1000. Bangladesh
  • Bangladesher Samakalin Theaterer Rajnaitik Manchitra, Theatrewala, Issue 28 , April 2015,
  • Kandani Bisahari Paribeshona: Jiban-Mrityur Dyotona Ebong Matrigorbher Klatit Smriti O Anyanya Bhbnar Nirikhe Bisahari-Bisadhari Manasar Ganer Path, Bangla Academy Patriaka, Vol. 58, Issue. 1-2, July-December, 2014, pp. 181-192.
  • Rickshaw painting of Bangladesh: Representation of Anthropomorphic Beast as a Figurative Fantasy of Social Biology, Shilpakala (Annual journal published by National Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, Bangladesh), January 2013, Vol.XXI, Issue 12-13
  • Socio-aesthetic genesis of performance art, Depart, July-December 2013, Vol.4, Issue 14-15
  • Bangla Natoke Gram-chitroner Bibidho Chinher Khoj o Path, Boitha (issue on village), Shihab Shahria (edt), Vol 3, Dhaka, December 2013, pp. 174-178.
  • historicity, city and sculpture: contextualizing two outdoor sculptures by Novera Ahmed and Nasima Haque Mitu, Depart, Vol 3,  Issue: 10/11, 2013
  • Of Place and Difference: Sufi shrine as the site for collective ecstasy and healing, Depart, March 2012, Vol.3, Issue
  • Manasha: Detecting the loci of an indigenous rite, Depart, March 2012, Vol.3, Issue 9
  • Six theses on Abstraction, Depart, March 2011, Vol.3, Issue 7-8
  • Bangladesher Lokonatya: Paddhatigato Pothon O Adhunikatabad Protyakhyaner Rajniti, Bangla Academy Patriaka, Vol. 55, Issue. 3-4, July-December, 2011
  • Revisiting Havel’s Values Neo-Bengal School: The zeal for revivalism and Rabindranath's reevaluation, Depart, March 2010, Vol.1, Issue 2
  • Behular bhasan: Bangali Narir Pratnarup, Uttaradhikar (Creative periodical, published by Bangla Academy) , Vol.38, Issue 6, pp.23-30, 2010.