Born on 19 January 1932 in Malsiras village in Solapur district of Maharashtra, Shri Arun Kakade is a pioneer in the modern Marathi theatre. It was as a student at Wadia College in Pune that Shri Kakade made his first connection with the theatre, taking part in plays directed by his professor Bhalaba Kelkar. After completing his education, he joined the Progressive Dramatic Association of Pune and remained an active member up to 1955.
The following year Shri Kakade moved to Mumbai and teamed up with Vijaya Mehta , Arvind Deshpande and others to establish the theatre group Rangayan. Over fourteen years, Rangayan produced the work of Marathi playwrights such as P.L. Deshpande, Vijay Tendulkar, C.T. Khanolkar, and S.G. Sathe, as well as Marathi translations of Badal Sircar and Eugene lonesco. Tendulkar's Shantata! Court Chalu Ahe, produced in 1967-68, was one of Rangayan 's resounding successes. Among other successful productions were Tendulkar's Chimaniche Ghar Hote Menache, Sathe’s Saasa ani Kasav, Deshpande’s Choote Maase Mothe Maase, Ionesco’s Pudhari, and Sircar’s Baki Itihas.
In 1971 Shri Arun Kakade, together with Vijay Tendulkar and Arvind and Sulabha Deshpande, founded Awishkar, a group still active today. Under Shri Kakade 's guidance, Awishkar has pursued a vigorous programme producing plays for children and organizing festivals of theatre focused on Marathi dramatists. The group's major successes include Girish Karnad's Tughlaq (1971) and Vijay Tendulkar’s Pahije Jaateeche (1976), both directed by Arvind Deshpande ; Shankar Shesh's Poster directed by Jaydev Hattangady (1979); L.M. Bendekar's Arya Chanakya directed by Ajit Bhagat (1986); and Sangeet Bayaa Daar Ughad, written and directed by Sushma Deshpande (2010).
Shri Arun Kakade's pivotal role in the direct ions taken by Rangayan and Awishkar has been widely acknowledged, though he has remained behind the scenes to manage the affairs of both groups. He is himself an actor of repute, and has played to acclaim in P.K. Atre's Bhramacha Bhopala directed by Bhalaba Kelkar ( 1952), Vijay Tendulkar 's Mee Jinklo Mee Harlo directed by Vijaya Mehta (1963), and Bai Eke Bai written and directed by Suhasini Mulgaonkar (1972) among other plays .
Shri Arun Kakade receives the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his overall contribution in the performing arts.