Shri Heisnam Kanhailal was born in Imphal, Manipur, in 1941. Active in theatre from his school- days, he joined the National School of Drama in 1968, which he left midway to discover his own theatre idiom. Shri Kanhailal established his own theatre group, Kalakshetra, in Manipur in 1969 and has since been working with a wide cross- section of people, including tribals, to create an awareness of the socio-cultural identity of contemporary Manipur through the medium of theatre. He has written some fifteen plays and directed thirty-five, including Thamnalai, Kabui Keioiba, Imphal 73, Pebet, Laigee Machasinga, Huranbagi Ishei, etc. Shri Kanhailal received the Manipur State Kala Akademi Award in 1983. For his eminence in the field of Theatre and his contribution to its enrichment, Shri Heisnam Kanhailal receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Direction for 1985.