Tanika Gupta

Tanika Gupta, MBE (Bengali: তানিকা গুপ্তা; born 1 December 1963) is an English playwright of Bengali descent. Apart from her work for the theatre, she has also written scripts for television and radio plays.

Tanika Gupta

তানিকা গুপ্তা
Born (1963-12-01) 1 December 1963 (age 56)
Chiswick, Hounslow, London, England
EducationModern History
Alma materOxford University
OccupationPlaywright, screenwriter
Years active1998–present
Known forTheatre, television
StyleDrama, radio drama, screenplay
David Archer
m. 1988)
Parent(s)Tapan Gupta (father)
Gairika Gupta (mother)
RelativesPritish Gupta
(paternal grandfather)
Dinesh Chandra Gupta
(maternal great uncle)

Early lifeEdit

As a child, Gupta performed Tagore dance dramas with her parents. Her mother Gairika Gupta was an Indian classically trained dancer, and her father Tapan Gupta was a singer. She is also related to the Indian revolutionary Dinesh Gupta, whose brother was Tanika's grandfather.[1]

After attending Mill Hill School[2] in London, Gupta graduated from Oxford University with a Modern History degree. After Oxford, her political commitment found expression in her work for an Asian women's refuge in Manchester. In 1988, she married David Archer an anti-poverty activist and ActionAid's current Head of Programme Development, whom she met at university. She and her husband then moved to London where Gupta was a community worker in Islington, writing in her spare time.[1]


The Waiting Room (2000) was a career highpoint, enjoyed by blue-rinses as well as by Asian audiences. Gupta is rumoured to be writing a new play for Birmingham Repertory Theatre's Youth Theatre, The Young REP, to be performed in June 2009. She is currently writing a play for the Young Rep, for a group called Plays and New Writing.[3] In 2013, her play The Empress, about Abdul Karim and Queen Victoria opened in Stratford upon Avon.

For the BBC's Grange Hill series, Gupta wrote seven episodes between 1997 and 2000.

Awards and recognitionEdit

In 2008, Gupta was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2008 New Year Honours for her services to drama.[1][4] In June 2016 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2018, Gupta was awarded with the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Drama for her play Lions and Tigers.[5]


Personal lifeEdit

Gupta and her husband have two daughters, Nandini (born 1991), Niharika (born 1993) and a son Malini (born 2000).[1]


Year Title Notes Credit
1995 Flight TV film Writer
Bideshi Short
Siren Spirits 1 episode: "Bideshi"
1999 The Fiancée Short
2000 EastEnders 4 episodes: inc "17 January 2000"
1997–2000 Grange Hill 7 episodes: "20:19", "20:20", "21:15", "22.9", "22:10", "23:5", "23:6"
2001 Crossroads Unknown episodes
The Bill 1 episode: "Complicity (Part 2)"
2002 The Lives of Animals TV film Screenplay
2006 Banglatown Banquet
2010 Non-Resident Short Writer


Year Title
1995 "Voices on the Wind" (NT Studio)
1997 "Skeleton" (Soho)
1997 "A River Sutra" (NT Studio / 3 Mill Island)
1998 "On The Couch with Enoch" (BAC)
2000 "The Waiting Room" (National Theatre)
2002 "Sanctuary" (National Theatre)
"Inside Out" (Arcola)
2003 "Hobson's Choice" (Young Vic)
"Fragile Land" (Hampstead)
2004 "The Country Wife" (Watford)
2006 "Gladiator Games" (Sheffield Crucible)
"Catch" (Royal Court)
"Sugar Mummies" (Royal Court)
2008 "Meet The Mukherjees" (Bolton Octagon)
"White Boy" (Soho)
2010 "Great Expectations" (Watford)
2012 "Wah Wah Girls" (Saddlers Wells / Peacock Theatre)
2013 "Love'N'Stuff (Stratford East)
2013 "The Empress" (RSC)
2015 "Anita and Me" (Birmingham Rep)
2016 "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (dramaturg at The Globe)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Roy, Amit (15 July 2008). "Hanged Bengali icon's great-niece bags MBE". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  2. ^ Roberts, Alison (7 August 2007). "London's teenage crisis". London Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Tanika Gupta". British Council Literature. Archived from the original on 3 January 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  4. ^ "No. 58729". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 June 2008. p. 17.
  5. ^ Lions and Tigers wins the James Tait Black Prize for Drama 2018, theedinburghreporter.co.uk, 20 August 2018.

External linksEdit