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Tiatr is a type of musical theatre that is popular in the state of Goa on the west coast of India, as well as in Mumbai and among expatriate communities in the Middle East, United Kingdom, and other cities with a significant presence of Konkani speakers. The dramas are primarily performed in the Romi Konkani dialects and incorporate elements such as music, dance, and singing. Individuals who perform in tiatr are referred to as tiatrists.


2018 stamp sheet dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the Goan tiatr Goa Tiatr 2018 stampsheet of India cr.jpg
2018 stamp sheet dedicated to the 125th anniversary of the Goan tiatr


Tiatr is a popular form of Konkani theatre. Seen here is Tomazinho Cardozo. On the tiatr stage, Goa.JPG
Tiatr is a popular form of Konkani theatre. Seen here is Tomazinho Cardozo.

The word tiatr comes from the Portuguese word for theatre, teatro. Earlier variations of the word were theatrothiatro and tiatro. [1]


Tiatr today revolves around social, religious, and political themes. It is considered to be a mirror of Goan culture. The drama consists of six or seven acts called pordhe. These acts are interspersed with songs, which are not necessarily directly linked to the content or issues of the main drama. Typically, there are two or three songs between each of the acts.

Tiatrists have always demonstrated a very high degree of social awareness.[ citation needed ] Most of the themes of tiatr are concerned with social problems confronting the people. Despite centuries of Portuguese suppression and post-liberation neglect from the state governments, tiatr as an art form has not just survived but thrived and reinvented itself in many ways. [ citation needed ]

Tiatr actor. Scene from a tiatr (a popular form of Konkani theatre) in Goa.JPG
Tiatr actor.

The tiatr as a dramatic form has been traditionally dominated and patronised by the Christian community, but over the years several young Hindu artists have been performing in the tiatr, which are also seen by people from the Hindu community. [1]


Songs integral to the plays are known as kants. [1] Other songs, called kantaram, are generally either comedic or based on topical, political and controversial issues that are interspersed through the performance. These musical interludes are independent of the main theme of the play. The songs are often satirical and unsparing of the politics and politicians of Goa. The music is provided by a live band including keyboard, trumpet, saxophone, bass guitar and drums.[ citation needed ]

Tiatr today

Besides the regular commercial shows, tiatrs are held as part of the celebrations of nearly every church and chapel feast in the state.

The Goa Kala Academy organises a state-level tiatr competition every year while the Tiatr Academy organises a popular tiatr competition for dramas which has exceeded 25 performances.

Tiatr songs and performances are recorded and sold on CD and DVD in Goan and Middle Eastern markets.[ citation needed ]

Although efforts have been made to preserve the art form as a tradition of Goa, there have been calls for greater recognition of Mumbai-based tiatrists. [2] [3]

Khell tiatr

There is another version of the tiatr called the khell tiatr, whose performance is restricted to the festivals of Carnival, Intruz and Easter. It differs from the Konkani tiatr in another respect, that is, that its songs are integrated with the main drama and do not deviate in content from it.[ citation needed ]


Prior to the emergence of tiatr, entertainment in Konkani was mainly through zagors and khells. Both of them had their distinct style. While the zagor was more lyrical, the khell had dialogues and while the former was more popular in Bardez; the latter was firmly entrenched in Salcete.

Costancio Lucasinho Caridade Ribeiro, more popularly known as Lucasinho Ribeiro, who was from Assagao, was seeking employment in Bombay. Passionate about the performing arts, he was highly impressed with the stylised Italian operas performed there. He took up a job for an Italian opera troupe which was touring Indian cities at the time, staging an opera called Italian Boy. When the troupe left India, Lucazinho[ spelling? ] Ribeiro bought the costumes used in the play with the intention of staging a Konkani play on the style of the Italian Opera. His collaborators in the effort were Caetaninho Fernandes of Taleigao and João Agostinho Fernandes of Borda, Margao.

On Easter Sunday, 17 April 1892, the first-ever tiatr performance, Italian Bhurgo, adapted from the Italian play, was staged at the New Alfred Theatre, Bombay. [4] This day is celebrated as Tiatr Dis (Tiatr Day). Hence, the Goan art form of tiatr was the product of the meeting of Goan culture and the opera of Italy. Since there were many different scenes in this tiatr and it required different stage sets, they thought of dropping the curtain and performing songs and dances in front of it. This was needed to entertain the audience while the stage setting was being done behind the curtain. These songs and dances did not have any relevance to the theme of the play.

The first original tiatr script was written and directed by João Agostinho Fernandes in 1895 in Bombay and was titled Belle de Cavel or Sundori Cavelchi. For all his consistent devotion and encouragement over fifty years, Fernandes was conferred the title Pai Tiatrist (Father Tiatrist). [5]

Regina Fernandes, wife of the playwright João Agostinho Fernandes, became the first female tiatr actor in Bhattkara on 22 November 1904. Divorce, a tiatr written and directed by Airistides Dias, was the first konkani tiatr to complete 100 performances on 5 October 1980.

However, as time passed, the standard of zagor as well as Khell deteriorated in quality with the introduction of elements of vulgarity. Educated people stopped patronising the zagor as well as the khell. While tiatr was making its presence felt, its original form – the zagors and the khells – were dying a slow death and the zagor finally stopped being performed while the khells continued.

In 1956 the khell underwent a dramatic change. Given its state at that time, Antonio Moraes thought it fit to take the khell from the street performance to a stage performance. Helped by his friend and colleague Antonio Marian, the khell was performed on a stage for the first time with a backdrop and other paraphernalia associated with theatre. The first khell tiatr, Sandlolo Put, written and directed by Antonio Moraes, was staged on the third day of Carnival of March 1956. However, this form became very popular only in the 1970s when Rosario Rodrigues coined the term khell tiatr and came up with extremely successful shows. Thus, the ground-based plays known as khells evolved onto the stage and further into 'non-stop dramas'. They have now generally dropped this label and are generally referred to as tiatrs.

Tiatr contributed to keeping the Konkani language alive during Portuguese colonial rule, when Konkani was suppressed. Tiatrists played a major role in the struggle to make Konkani the official language of Goa.

In 2007, the Government of Goa started the Tiatr Academy of Goa to facilitate the development of tiatr. In 2008 legislation was approved granting 15 lakh (1,500,000) rupees to the newly formed Tiatr Academy of Goa. [4] [6]

List of tiatrists

Some of these names are from an article on GoaWorld.com. [7]

Past tiatrists

A. J. FernandesA. M. PachecoAgapito Xavier
Agnelo LoboAgostinho Temudo (Comedian Agostinho)Alex de Sanvordem
Alexinho de CandolimAlexinho de Maxem Alfred Rose (Rosario Alfred Fernandes)
AMB RoseAndrew FernandesAnnie Quadros
Anthony de SaAnthony Carr [8] Anthony Mendes
Antonette De Calangute Antonette Mendes Antonio Francisco de Gauravaddo
Aristides DiasAugustine RebelloBab Peter
Babush FernandesBenny de Aldona Bernard de Aldona
Bernard de Parra Betty Ferns (Maria Vital Fernandes)Betty Naz (Beatrice Josephine Fernandes)
Bom JezuBushan Rodrigues Comedian Selvy (Matheus Correia)
C. Alvares (Celestino Alvares) Comedian Marcus Caitano Milagres Fernandes
Caiti PintoCajetan Pereira Carmo Rod
Cecilia (Albuquerque) MachadoChampion Alvares (Sebastiao Alvares), SaligaoChampion Peter
Crista Furtado & Milagres Fernandes Clara Dias Clemmie Pereira
Coutinho (Miss Julie, from Candolim)Cypriano (Star of Oxel) Cyriaco Dias
Damiao D'CostaDerrick Mendes (Mendes Bros.)Diogo Cardoz de Khobravado
Dodd de Verna (M. Dodd de Verna)DuettanchoDummulo de Gauravaddo
Earnest RebelloEffieEmmy Fernandes (Colva)
Felix Mendes (Mendes Bros.)Filipe DiasFlora Mendes
Francis de ParraFrancis de VernaFrancis Xavier Mendes
Nevel Gracias (Vel'lekar)GenevieveGreg
H. Britton (Herminizildo Camilo)J B Rod.J. P. Souzalin
Jacinto Vaz Jephsis HitlerJerry Braganza
Jessie DiasJoão Agostinho Fernandes (Pai Tiatrist)Jose Rod de Parra
John Claro John Dias (Candolim)Johnny de Saligao
Jose RodJosephineJulius Noronha
Junior RodJuzinho D'Souza, musician Kid Boxer
Lajea Da CostaLaverent PereiraLawrence de Tiracol
Leena de Anjuna Lorna Cordeiro Lucasinho Ribeiro
Lucian DiasLuis MartinsLuiza Fernandes
M. Boyer Manuel NoronhaMarceline de Betim
Marcus VazMarian RodriguesMario de Colva
Mario de Navelim Mario Menezes Master Ingnatius de Mapusa
Master VazMatthew AraujoMeena Leitao
Menino de Bandar Minguel Rod Mike Mehta (Transfiguracao de Jesu Cristo Rodrigues)
Mohana (Miss Mohana)NelsonOlavo Ernesto Gomes
Ophelia Patrick Dourado Paul Romy
Peter Gomes de UmtavaddoPeter V FernandesPhilomena Braz Crasto
Philu de AldonaPlatildaPrem Kumar (Peter D'Costa), Chandor
Premanand LotlikarQuerobina CarvalhoRemmie Colaco
Rico RodRita RoseRobin Vaz
Roglo NaikRomaldo D’Souza Romeo Mendes
Roam TonyRosario RodriguesRosario Agnelo Dias
Rosary FernsS LemosSabina
Salvador SouzaSebastian (S.B. Radio)Seby Coutinho
Shalini MardolkarSharon MazarelloShrirang Narvekar
Souza BoySouza FerraoSouza Guiao
Star of Curtorim Star of Arossim Succorine Fizardo
Sandra DiasTeotonio D’CostaThomas Andrade
Titta Pretto Tomazinho Cardozo Tony Call
Tommy Alvares (J. S. Alvares) Brother of C. Alvares – SangoldaTony King (Anthony Alvares), son of Champion AlvaresTony Martins
Victor de CalanguteVincent de SaligaoVincent Fernandes (Murganv Bondr)
Vincy Quadros Wilson Mazarello Willy Fernandes
Xavier GomesXavier Mendes (Mendes Bros.) Young Chico
Young MenezesVincente Fernandes (Sezapai) William de Curtorim
Bab Kistu de CalanguteLate Cajetan de SanvordemLate Silva de Benaulim

Active tiatrists

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