The Indian People's Theatre Association was formed during the Quit India Movement in 1942. Upon its formal inauguration in 1943-44, IPTA took upon itself the challenge to bring theatre to the people with the objective of building awareness about social responsibility and national integration. IPTA soon became a movement and swept the length and breadth of India with its socialistic and nationalistic fervor. Born as a result of a long-felt need among writers and artistes, IPTA brought about a sea change in the prevalent concepts about Indian Theatre. It was formed to co-ordinate and to strengthen all progressive tendencies that had so far manifested themselves in the form of drama, songs and dances. Its roots lay in the cultural awakening of the masses of India, seeking to revive the cultural heritage of the country. Its initial impact was so powerful that a new form of expression took shape. It was to leave a lasting impression, making the arts an expression of the people’s yearning for freedom, economic and social justice and a democratic culture. IPTA, is one of the oldest performing art groups in the country and the only theatre movement that is present in 22 states of India with over 12000 members. Indian cinema, performing arts like music and theatre and n ow even television have drawn their many personalities from IPTA.

IPTA was founded by stalwarts like KA Abbas, Dr. Bhabha, Anil de Silva, Ali Sardar Jafri and Daa Sharmalkar. In the 75 years of its existence, many prominent artistes, writers, musicians, directors, dancers and singers have been a part of IPTA. These include Amar Shaikh, ShambhuMitra, Homi Bhabha, Krishanchander, Kaifi Azmi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Sahir Ludhianvi, Balraj Sahni, Mohan Segal, Mulkraj Anand, Romesh Thapar, Hima Devi, Annabhau Sathe, Shailendra, Prem Dhawan, Ismat Chugtai, Kanu Ghosh, Chetan Anand, Dina Pathak, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Sachin Shankar, Bahadur Khan, A.K.Hangal, Habib Tanvir, Abrar Alvi, Hemant Kumar, Adi Marzban, Salil Chaudhari, Tarla Mehta, Khayyam, Phani Muzumdar, Dev Anand, Shanti Bardhan, Chittoprasad, Harindranath Chattopadhyay, VP Sathe, Durga Khote, Keshavrao Date, Utpal Dutt, Ritwik Ghatak, Satyen Kappu, Sanjeev Kumar, Zul Vellani, Shaukat Kaifi, Manmohan Krishna, Basu Bhattacharya, Abid Razvi, M.S.Sathyu, Kuldip Singh, Ramesh Talwar, Sulabha Arya, Shabana Azmi, Farooque Shaikh, Kader Khan, Yunus Parvez, Mac Mohan, Javed Siddiqi, Sudhir Pande, Aanjjan Srivastava, Bharat Kapoor, Rakesh Bedi, and many others. The list just goes on and on and would read like a who’s who of Indian art and culture.
Over the past six decades we have been at the forefront of the theatre movement in the country. IPTA Mumbai till now has staged more than 100 plays in various Indian languages – Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, Kannada, and Punjabi as well as in English. Some of the memorable productions include Aakhri Shama, Sufaid Kundali, Bakri, African Jawan Pareshan, Ek Aur Dronacharya, Hori, Lok Katha, Moteram Ka Satyagrah, Shatranj Ke Mohre among many other landmark productions.

1984 saw the formation of IPTA Balmanch, a children’s theatre wing, which staged plays with young artistes from different socio-economic backgrounds. Currently the children’s wing is staging Gulzar’s musical play Agar Aur Magar and is also preparing for more productions in 2007. In 1972 IPTA started its Inter Collegiate Drama Competition in memory of Prithviraj Kapoor.  This competition that recognises budding talent on stage, is regarded as one of the most prestigious drama competitions in Mumbai. It has given many artistes not only to the Hindi stage, but also to Marathi and Gujarati theatre. 
In recognition of IPTA’s contribution to Indian culture, the postal department released a commemorative philatelic stamp on 25 th May 1994 in Mumbai. Shri Arjun Singh graced the occasion as the chief guest. Apart from staging our Hindi plays at different venues across India and at select venues abroad, we also organise an Annual Theatre Festival every year in the month of May. Our other activities include performances by our music choir, language classes, seminars on performing arts, film screenings, workshops, theatre activities for children, etc.