Born on 29 October 1940, Shrimati Kusum Haidar is a widely-acclaimed actor of the Delhi stage. She was introduced to theatre by Ebrahim Alkazi at his Theatre Unit in Bombay (1956-7). Subsequently, she was trained in mime and movement at the Ecole lnternationale de Theatre (1960-62) under the renowned teacher Jacques Lecoq. She trained further at the British Drama League, London ( 1963-64), and learnt the Chinese t'ai chi from the well-known teacher Mrs Geddes at the School for Contemporary Dance, London (1987-9 1). An alumna of Miranda House, University of Delhi, where she took her Bachelor's degree in 1960, Shrimati Haidar holds an MA. (1980) from the New School for Social Research, New York.
Shrimati Haidar's career grew with the efflorescence of Indian theatre in the 1960s. She rode the new wave as a founding member of Yatrik (1964). And followed a trajectory that covered both the classic drama of the West as well as plays by India's new dramatist s. She has worked with some of the most significant directors in Indian theatre since those early years. E. Alkazi has directed her in Shakespeare's Macbeth (1956), Jean Anouilh’s Antigone ( 1957) and Eurydice (1959), Lorca's Yerma (1968), and Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire (1995); Habib Tanvir in his Sudrak adaptation Mitti ki Gari (1958), Begum Qudsia Zaidi's Khalid ki Khala (1 959), and his own play Raja Chamba aur Char Bhai (1973). Under Sai Paranjape she has acted in Mahesh Elkunchwar 's Vasna Kand( 1974) and Vijay Tendulkar' s Ajgar(1975), while Joy Michael has been her director in Ibsen's The Wild Duck (1960), Jean Anouilh's Dinner with the Family (1960), Anton Chekhov's The Seagull (1966) and Uncle Vanya (1982). A director herself, Shrimati Haidar has done plays such as Lorca's Blood Wedding (1968, 2007), Anouilh's Alltigone (1994), and Oscar Wilde's Salome (1995). Her production of Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphosis was featured in the Bharat Rang Mahotsav and the Bharatendu Natya Utsav in 2013.
Shrimati Kusum Haidar has been awarded the French Government Scholarship for specialized training in theatre arts.
She has been given the Best Actress award (1960-61) by the Delhi Natya Sangh for her role in Dinner with the Family. She was also Best Actress (1975) for her role as Lalli in Vasan Kand directed by Sai Paranjape. She was felicitate d by the Bharatiya Natya Sangh on World Theatre Day (27 March 2011) for her contribution to theatre since 1957.
Shrimati Kusum Haidar receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to Indian theatre as an actor.