The history of Bengali theatre goes back to the days even before the country had achieved its independence from British rule. There were some of the stalwarts of the field performing their productions on stage during that time. Many of the theatres were owned by the zamindars of the region. Some of the most renowned actors and directors during that time were Girish Ghosh, Ardhendu Shekhar Mustafi, Sisir Bhaduri and others. Famous authors and poets like Dinabandhu Mitra, Michael Madhusudan Dutta, and even Rabindranath Tagore were involved in the development of the Bengali theatre. James Long had also played a major role in the theatre movement of Bengal by translating the saga of oppression of the British indigo planters on the native farmers portrayed in Nil Darpan by Dinabandhu Mitra.
Post-independence, the theatre in Bengal continued its glorious run. Several theatre groups were formed in Kolkata and in other towns, cities and villages as well. The Bengali theatre has derived much of its materials from different folk arts of the region. It ranges from the jatras of the villages to other folk plays and music. Besides, the IPTA also played a major role in the evolving of the styles of the theatre of Bengal. The 60s, 70s and the 80s were probably the Golden Period of Bengali Theatre. Different small groups emerged during that time. Some of the major stalwarts performing during that time include Utpal Dutta, Ajitesh Bandopadhyay, Sambhu Mitra and others.