Indian Ink Theatre Company

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Jacob Rajan, Writer and Actor

Jacob is an Arts Foundation Laureate and is a founding partner of Indian Ink. He collaborated to create Krishnan’s Dairy, The Candlestickmaker, The Pickle King, The Dentist’s Chair and The Guru of Chai and has performed them throughout New Zealand and internationally.

Jacob has won “Best Actor” in the 2010 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards for ‘The Guru of Chai’. He has also received an accolade for acting excellence and was nominated for the Stage Award for Best Actor at the Edinburgh Fringe. Jacob has featured on New Zealand TV series (Outrageous Fortune and Shortland Street).

Jacob’s family originates in Kerala, Southern India. He was born in Malaysia and immigrated to New Zealand at the age of four. Jacob has a degree in microbiology, a teacher’s diploma and is a graduate of Toi Whakaari – The New Zealand Drama School.

Justin Lewis, Writer and Actor

Justin is a founding partner of Indian Ink and collaborated with Jacob Rajan to create the company’s works: Krishnan’s Dairy, The Candlestickmaker, The Pickle King, The Dentist’s Chair and Guru of Chai. Indian Ink’s productions have won numerous awards including two Edinburgh Fringe First Awards and Three production of the Year Awards in New Zealand. Justin has produced numerous national and international tours. He is Deputy Chair of Q Theatre and has been heavily involved in its development from the beginning. In 2008 he received a Kaupapa Oranga Award for his services to theatre. Justin is a graduate of the John Bolton Theatre School and University of Auckland.

The Company

Indian Ink has become one of New Zealand’s most successful touring theatre companies performing in every major New Zealand theatre and city since 1997; from intimate black boxes to 800+ Lyric theatres. Return seasons sell out before opening, and the company has broken box office records on the way to a total audience of more than 175,000 people. Indian Ink has toured internationally to great success and has won two Fringe First Awards from its two trips to Edinburgh.

Founded in 1997 by Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis, the company was a team of long term collaborators who combine to make work that is beautiful, funny, sad and true. The ‘serious laugh’ (using laughter to open the audience to deeper themes) is central to the company’s approach, along with a love of mask and of story. The company blends western theatrical traditions with eastern flavours and has been critically acclaimed for its use of live music, heightened theatricality, humour, pathos and great storytelling.

The company’s first three plays (Krishnan’s Dairy, The Candlestickmaker, The Pickle King) have been collected in ” The Triilogy Book” published by Victoria University Press, and the works are taught in secondary school and university drama departments. The company has also been acclaimed for its business practices being frequently cited as a benchmark for excellence, innovation, flexibility and sustainability.

REPERTORY

2024/2025 SEASON

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Paradise (or the impermanence of ice cream)

Kutisar, your unlikely spiritual guide from The Elephant Wrestler, returns to guide you to Paradise. Jacob Rajan’s masterful storytelling is center stage as he weaves 1980s Mumbai nightclubs, raging infernos and ice- cream into the mystery of India’s vanishing vultures. Laugh out loud funny and profoundly moving, the latest play from Indian Ink is packed full of delicious treats like exquisite puppetry, thrilling music and magical staging. Based on a true story..
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Dirty Work

At Sysyphus Solutions, founder Vijay runs this billion-dollar enterprise remotely, from his home in Bangalore. Somewhere in another place, another country is one of satellite offices of Sysyphus where Joy cleans the offices for minimum wage. The computers are down and the big boss wants the impossible. A hapless middle manager, his unhelpful assistant and their chorus of office workers are soldiering on. Which isn’t good news for the cleaner. But tonight, Joy brings her own dreams to life, with a chorus of 20 singing office mates where everyone finds a path to their own vision and navigates a way through the delicate balance of Dirty Work and their own dreams. Workplace hierarchies are shattered, class and culture clash and from the chaos emerges a different way to value one another. The four actors of Indian Ink star with a chorus of locals in each venue.

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Mrs Krishnans Party

Step into the back room of Mrs Krishnan’s dairy where garlands decorate the ceiling, music flows and Mrs Krishnan is throwing a party like no other. Food simmers on the stove, laughter abounds and strangers become friends in this joyous celebration of life.

Watch the actors juggle cooking, music and guests in an unfolding drama where no two nights are the same. Kalyani Nagarajan and Justin Rogers have reviewers singing their praises and audiences leaping to their feet in appreciation.

WATCH

The Making of Dirty Work: Episode 1

Paradise/ Mrs. K's Party
Breaking it down with Indian Ink

Paradise Teaser

“The heavier themes are explored with a deft touch, helped along by Rajan’s flawless transitions from character to character.” -Theaterscenes

For almost two decades Jacob Rajan and Justin Lewis have pursued their idea of the ‘Serious Laugh’- opening mouths with laughter in order to slip something serious in along with a love of mask and story. The company blends western theatrical traditions with eastern flavours and has been critically acclaimed for its use of live music, heightened theatricality, humour, pathos and great storytelling.

GALLERY

EXPLORE

Mrs. Krishnan's Party Planner

"Dirty Work" Synopsis

PRESS

Mrs Krishnan's Party

“Best Onam Ever.”

- Arts Louisville

Paradise

“Rajan’s production is no doubt exhausting to perform, but effortless to watch.”

-Theaterscenes

Mrs. Krishnan's Party

“The -unsurprising -standing ovation at the end of the play spoke volumes”

- NZ Herald

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