Born on 17 January 1957 in Daradwadi village in Beed district of Maharashtra, Shri Waman Kendre is a well-known director in the Marathi theatre. He has made a mark also with his plays in Hindi and English. A graduate of the National School of Drama, where he took his diploma in 1982, Shri Kendre has studied theatre and theatrical arts in various parts of the country. He has carried out research on the folk and ritual theatre of Kerala; learnt the martial arts of Kerala and Manipur; and trained in the dance and movement of Yakshagana of Karnataka, Chhau of Odisha, and Kathakali of Kerala. He has worked as a research associate in theatre with the National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai. Since 2004, Shri Waman Kendre has been Professor and Director of the Academy of Theatre Arts, University of Mumbai.
Over the last twenty years, Shri Waman Kendre has been working with his group Rangpeeth in Mumbai, producing an eclectic mix of Marathi and other drama. Some of his better-known productions are Zulwa adapted from Uttam Bandu Tupe's novel (1987); Haribhau Vadgaokar's Gadhey ki Baraat (1988); P.L Deshpande's Ek Zunj Waryashi (1988); Ladi Nazariya, adapted from Harishankar Parsai's short story (1995); Vishwas Patil's Ranangan (1999); P.L. Deshpande's Tee Phularani (2001); Machchhindra More‘s Jaaneman (2002); Mohandas, adapted from Uday Prakash's novel (2007); Bhasa's Madhyama Vyayoga, titled Priya Bawari, More Piya, and O My Love in its Marathi, Hindi, and English versions (2011); Raahile Door Ghar Maazhe, adapted from Asghar Wajahat's Jis Lahore Nahin Vekhya O Jammeeya hi Nai; and Teen Paishyacha Tamasha, adapted from Brecht by P.L. Deshpande. His plays have run to about 4,500 shows overall. Prior to Rangpeeth, Shri Kendre had worked with a number of leading directors including P. L. Deshpande, Vijaya Mehta, Satish Alekar, Damu Kenkre, B.V. Karanth, B.M. Shah, Fritz Benewitz, and Peter Brook. He has conducted a number of theatre workshops in India and abroad.
Shri Kendre has been honoured for his work with the Manohar Singh Smriti Puraskar bestowed by the National School of Drama (2004), and the first Dr Suhasani Irlekar Award (2012) of the Government of Maharashtra. He has received the Maharashtra Government's Best Director Award five times.
Shri Waman Kendre receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contribution to Indian theatre as a director.