The Development of Suan Sunandha Dance and Theatre
This research was aimed to study the development and the dance theatre history of Suan Sunandha between the year
1898 to 2013, in order to trace the history of Suan Sunandha Palace, the origin of Suan Sunandha Thai dance theatre, the
development and the factors that have affected and shaped the identity of Suan Sunandha's dances. This research focused on
the history and particular performances that affected the development.
The research methodology comprises historical documents i.e. books, articles, periodicals, program notes, pictures and
researches; interviews from alumni, previous and current teachers including this researcher who has had direct experience in
studying and working in Suan Sunandha’s Thai Dance Department for more than 32 years.
The research found that in 1898 King Mongkut endorsed to construct Suan Sunandha Palace on 1.952 square kilometres
consisting of 32 residential buildings. In 1917, Thai dance theatre in Suan Sunandha was originated in the ground floor of the
Palace of Her Royal Highness Princess Adorndibyanibha. Then, she established Suan Sunandha Theatre Troupe by having the
Royal Mother Kean create the curriculum and teach. In 1932, there was the political revolution in Thailand causing the
royalties to leave the palace. Since Suan Sunandha Palace was deserted, the theatre troupe was frozen accordingly. In 1937,
Thai cabinet gave Suan Sunandha Palace to Ministry of Education in order to establish an educational institution, so-called
Suan Sunandha Wittayalai. In 1948, Lady Krongkaew Pathommanon, who was the principal at that time, launched a policy of
creating theatre productions for fundraising for canteen construction and other necessary teaching tools. The theatre
productions in this time usually employed the plays of King Rama VI to perform as dance theatres and interlude dances, in
every year on 10th November, which is the birthday of HM the Queen Sunandhakumariratana. In 1973, the Upper Certificate
of Education in Thai dance was opened resulting in the cessation of the fundraising theatres. Since then, Suan Sunandha
theatres and dances has been turned to perform according to the curriculum, under the administration of Thai Dance
Department, which has developed continuously. In 2004, the curriculum was changed from education to artistic field. In 2008,
the Master degree in Thai dance and theatre was opened. From 1917-2013 that HRH Princess Adorndibyanibha founded the
Suan Sunandha Theatre Trope is the important ground for the development. The research also found that other main factors
effecting the development of Suan Sunandha theatre are economic situations, political situations, curricular situations,
institution and staff situations, who create academic works, degree projects and thesis.
The research also suggests for further study’s topics such as the form and style of HRH Princess Adorndibyanibha theatre
troupe in Suan Sunandha, the comparative study of Thai dance creation and dance theatre creation in Suan Sunandha.
Keywords - development, Suan Sunandha dance and theatre