Female protagonists take centre stage in all my work. I’m particularly interested in the intersection of power, sex and gender roles.Purnjanam/Born Again by Sharmila Chauhan - directed by Janet Steel - Kali Theatre Company - Southwark Playhouse - 14 Januarly 2012

Sharmila’s plays include:

  • The Husbands (an exploration of polyandry and matriarchy in India) which toured nationally and completed its run at London’s Soho theatre (Kali and Pentabus Theatre),
  • Born Again/Purnajanam (Southwark Playhouse (exploring class, religion and female power), Kali Theatre, Jan 2012),
  • Not Today’s Yesterday (co-written with Seeta Patel, 2017)
  • 10 Women (body image and women with Bethan Dear, Avignon Festival, France, 2014)).

Currently, she is working on:

adult-beautiful-bed-698864Be Better in Bed – Focused and always ready for a challenge: Layla, doctor-married-three kids, is trying to ‘fix’ her dwindling sex life. Signing up to the ‘Be Better in Bed’ sex workshop, she meets three women each with widely different lifestyles.
Exploring polyamory, BDSM and pornography, these four women must navigate together what sexuality means to them as individuals and in their relationships. They are led by the enigmatic Sapphire, who tells them there isn’t anything they can’t learn about sex, if they just pay attention and practice, practice, practice…

Physical, brutally honest and funny, Better In Bed explores contemporary sexuality and intersectional feminism: asking bold questions around empowerment, desire, and the female gaze.

Vibrant festival
Finborough Theatre
Monday June 24th 7.30pm 


Cage (Directed by Tian Glasgow)  (Barbican Labs, Rich Mix, Bernie Grant) is an immersive piece exploring empathy and race. This game show format explores the role of art in racial politics and how empathy can be used as a force for social change.


corelli.jpgSharmila also teaches theatre workshops and work with TiE. Most recently she was commissioned by the Migration Museum and Tamasha theatre for Corelli College, London called Nothing to Declare: exploration objects and trans-generational migration.

Sharmila was also part of Tamasha’s writers group (Oct 2014), Royal Court’s Critical Mass (Autumn 2009), Tamasha Developing Artists (TDA) program (March 2012 and writers development programme with Kali theatre, 2008


Rehearsals for The Husbands - Kali Theatre and Pentabus Theatre


Click on the titles to find out more…

Not Today’s Yesterday (with Seeta Patel)

This work aims to open up conversation through a clever appropriation of whitewashed histories and give a voice back to lost histories and communities.
Not Today’s Yesterday offers audiences a chance to engage in the most important geo-political conversation of this decade.
Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 17.23.17

REVIEWS 2017/2018

“An unmissable treat”…

“An exceptional piece of political theatre that speaks volumes without a word being said on the stage”

★★★★★ – “Not Today’s Yesterday is a poised and thoughtful work and a spectacular performance”

★★★★★ – “This is outstanding, innovative, must-see dance”…


 The Husbands (dir Janet Steel)

National tour including: Plymouth, Leicester Curve, Soho Theatre London

Amidst female infanticide and decreasing girl population in India, the fictional community of Shaktipur returns to ancient systems of matriarchy and polyandry. The story follows Aya, head of this matriarchal village, on the morning of her third wedding — as she makes a discovery that could destroy everything she has built.

“Sharmila Chauhan’s The Husbands is a thought-provoking exploration of a fantastical matriarchal commune” Metro


“There’s a hint of Margaret Atwood in Chauhan’s fictional world, and a great deal of the intractable issues that gnaw away at feminists. …” Maddy Costa, Guardian 

Ten Women (co-written and dir by Bethan Dear)

Avignon Festival, FrancTEN-WOMEN imagee, July 2014. Produced by Jack Daw Theatre

10 women explore their relationships with their bodies.

Purnajanam / Born Again (dir Janet Steel)

Southwark Playhouse 2013.


In a city of transition and tradition, three liars, two lovers and a reluctant leader all desperately search for truth. As Mumbai burns, Purnjanam questions destiny, love and power, asking what must be destroyed for something new to be created.

12: (Dir Janet Steel), 2015

Shocked and moved by true stories of honour killings of young women in the UK where on average 12 such killings occur each year, twelve writers have collaborated to create a moving and poignant theatre event that celebrates and gives voice to these lost lives.

Staged readings:

Prodigal: Scratch reading – Bush Theatre – March 2016 – Part of Black Words – produced by ADF

A picnic hamper, a thermos of tea and some dolly mixture: Mother and Daughter are lost on a foggy heath searching for the Prodigal Son. As the mist thickens and grievances are aired,misconceptions become the map that guides them.

Roses, March 2015 – The Shed/ Temporary Space, National Theatre. Produced by Sphynx Theatre

Brand new work by four of the UK’s most exciting writers created exclusively for the Women Centre Stage Festival.

Set between Kenya and London, Roses is a dark tale of love, power and sex. Cast includes Ronke Adekoluejo, Ayasha Kala, Mark Theodore and Philip Edgerley.

A fantastic insight into the next generation of leading female protagonists by award-winning writers-to-watch Charlotte Josephine, Matilda Ibini, Sharmila Chauhan and Luke Barnes.

A Tale of Two Sisters: (dir Pooja Ghai) Rich Mix, March 2015.

Exploring the birth of the ‘modern’ sari as a representation of female emancipation; Shakti and Seva explores the relationship between society’s ‘good girl’ and her sexually free, autonomous sister.

When Spring Comes: (dir Dominic Hingorani), Commonwealth Club produced by Tamasha Theatre and South Asian Lit Fest.

A three generation story about the Ugandan exodus to the UK.

And also a number of scratch readings including Make and Model (Bush theatre, Nov 2014, Roses, Soho Theatre Jan 2015)

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