ENSA Production: Ram Gopal – Programme

Series nameRam Gopal: 1940s

This four page programme was produced for a classical dance recital for the Indian and British troops stationed in India during the Second World War. The Naafi (the British Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) and Entertainments National Service Association India (ENSA India) commissioned Ram Gopal and his dance company to tour India’s major cities. Gopal’s troupe included Krishna Sivaram, Chandrabaga Devi, Janakie, Dayal Saran, Radhika, Karpaga Devi, Devakar, Vithal Dass and the Saraswati Orchestra. The front of the programme features an image of Ram Gopal in a traditional dance posture and also includes some excerpts from world press reviews on his pre-war performances in America, France and England.

Date of Creation / Publicationmid 1940s
CreatorEntertainments National Service Association (ENSA)
Associated Person/ OrganisationGopal, Ram
Collection and Reference NumberRam Gopal Collection (GB 2661 RGL)
Catalogue NumberRGL/DEC/1940/10
CopyrightThe Creator and/ or associated person or organisation where applicable
Access to originalsThe originals are located with Ann David, academic researcher and friend of Ram Gopal, and with Pam Cullen, Executor of the Ram Gopal Estate.
Series notesThe 1940s saw Ram Gopal reach international fame. Based in London, his performances were critically acclaimed and played to full audiences throughout the dance season. Ram Gopal met many great personalities during this time, however he was most in awe of his encounter with Queen Mary, who invited him to tea and perform for her.

During this time, Kay Ambrose, a ballet artist, and Feliks Topolski, a Polish artist both began to sit in the wings at Ram Gopal's performances, sketching the dances every evening. Eventually a sketch book was published of Ram Gopal's performances by Ambrose. Topolski completed a portrait of Ram Gopal which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London. This decade also witnessed Gopal's meeting with Gandhi and Nehru, and he became the first Indian artist to tour with ENSA, visiting British and Indian troops. Gopal also established his popular dance school in Bangalore and returned to England in 1947.

The digitised material in this file includes photographs,extracts of newspaper articles, books and performance programmes.
Collection notesThe digitised material in the Ram Gopal Collection dates back to 1938 and includes black and white as well as colour photographs, several flyers and extracts from books including Ram Gopal's autobiography. The items also include newspaper articles, images of dance costumes, slides, advertisements and performance programmes.