Union of the East and West


14 St Mark's Crescent
London, NW1 7TS
United Kingdom
Other names: 

The Indian Art and Dramatic Society

Date began: 
01 Jan 1912
Precise date began unknown: 

The Union of the East and West began life as The Indian Art and Dramatic Society in 1912. The society put on Indian plays for the British public. In January 1914, the Indian Art and Dramatic Society decided to broaden its aims and founded the Union of the East and West. The Union of the East and West was organized by the Bengali, Kedar Nath Das Gupta, to promote understanding between India and Britain. To achieve these aims, the society organized meetings, dramatic recitals and readings, musical evenings, lectures and debates.

Their first Conversazione was held at the Grafton Galleries on 9 June 1914. Das Gupta was a friend of Rabindranath Tagore and many of their recitals and performances were drawn from Tagore's works. The society put on performances of 'Caliph for a Day' for wounded Indian soldiers at Barton-on-Sea. Other performances included 'The Maharani of Arakan' at the Coliseum in June 1916, 'The Ordeal' at The Prince of Wales Theatre, 16 October 1919 and 'Sakuntala' at the Winter Garden Theatre, 14 and 21 November 1919.

Kedar Nath Das Gupta took the society to the USA in the 1920s and organized an 'International Conference of Faiths' in Chicago in 1933, having created the 'Threefold Movement' of the Union of the East and West, League of Neighbours and Fellowship of Faiths.

Key Individuals' Details: 

Kedar Nath Das Gupta (organizer), Clarissa Miles (secretary), Margaret Mitchell.


Thomas. W. Arnold, Abbas Ali Baig, Bhupendranath Basu, Laurence Binyon, Charlotte Despard, E. B. Havell, Mrs Pethick Lawrence, Sir William Lever, Sir George Reid, Earl of Sandwich, Rabindranath Tagore, Sybil Thorndike.

Involved in events details: 

Sakuntala Performance, November 1919

Reception in honour of Rabindranath Tagore, Caxton Hall, 1920

Published works: 

Binyon, Laurence and Das Gupta, Kedar Nath, Sakuntala (London: Macmillan & Co., 1920)

Das Gupta, Kedar Nath, Consolations from the East to the West: Ancient Indian Stories (London: The Union of the East and West, 1916)

Das Gupta, Kedar Nath, Caliph for a Day: An Amusing Comedy (London: Indian Art and Dramatic Society, 1917)

Das Gupta, Kedar Nath, and Mitchell, Margaret G., Bharata (London: The Union of the East and West, 1918)

Secondary works: 

See Britain and India journal

See pictures and comments in Daily Graphic

See comments in Asiatic Quarterly Review

See reviews of various performances in British Press including The Times, The Era, The Stage

Chambers, Colin, A History of Black and Asian Theatre in Britain (London: Routledge, forthcoming)

Archive source: 

Programmes and fliers for performances, V & A Theatre Museum, Earls Court.