The walk started from Jorasanko Thakurbari, just off Chitpur Road (nearest metro station: Girish Park). The erstwhile residence of Rabindranath Tagore, houses the Rabindra Bharati University and Museum. Theatre here started in 1869 and was mostly a private affair. The “Thakurdalan” has been the stage of many a landmark plays of Bengal Renaissance Era.
Moving on northwards from Jorasanko along Chitpur Road across the street from Lohia Matrisadan, an erstwhile mansion of a prosperous Bengali trader, one will find a majestic building with an elegant clock adorning its crown. This is the Ghariwala Mallikbari. Originally owned by Madhusudan Sanyal, this was the site of the first commercial theatre space in 1872. It was also the site of the National theatre which later moved to Shovabazar Rajbari.
Moving further north, turning left at Prasanna Kumar Tagore Street, through the cacophony of the street shops emerged a palatial house to the left and a tall building resembling a castle right across the street from it. This is the Pathuriaghata Thakurbari and Tagore Castle. Much like the Jorasanko Thakurbari, plays were staged here. The Bangla Natyalay was founded in 1864 at Tagore Castle, while a Kalidas play was staged in 1859 at the same site.
(Trivia: If you happen to walk towards the river along Nimtolla Road from here, you would approach the said landing site of Job Charnock when he came to Bengal. You would also come across the Neyamatullah Mosque, which is said to be the oldest mosque in Calcutta.)
Stepping further ahead, a peek into Oriental Seminary (estd 1829) revealed that it was here that Indians/natives staged the first English play in Calcutta. Getting back to Beadon Street, walking eastwards towards C.R. Avenue, an impressive structure with a portico comes up on the right – the Minerva Theatre.
From the Beadon Street post office, one could take a bus ride to Shovabazar metro station or walk through the bylanes of the neighbourhood to reach the Shovabazar Rajbari. The original Rajbari was the site of the most of its plays. Many of Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s plays were staged here.