Umang, a pioneering childrens theatre organization devoted to creative activities of children with a specific focus on theatre, was established by the eminent children theatre expert Smt. Rekha Jain in 1979. Since all such activity at that time tended to be either sporadic or casual, Umang evolved a clear philosophy of artistic merit, so children’s theatre was taken seriously, to match the highest standards of the best theatre in India. It became evident that the use of theatre in schools helped the children sharpen their perceptions and acquire leadership skills that otherwise remained dormant due to the passive nature of education. It also helped develop sensitivity within children’s minds of the inequalities in society, and instill value education and integration in different sections of our society.. Till now Umang has trained approximately 3,000 children and reached out to several thousand more.

It also needs to be underlined that Umang was founded primarily to provide children from less-privileged backgrounds the opportunity of artistic expression that was not otherwise available to them.Umang was the tool that she used to bridge the gap between those children who came from economically strong and stable families and those who were not so fortunate. It was for facilitating the attendance of such children that Rekha ji evolved the concept of neighborhood theatre, where children from the locality came together to put up a play. She used a combination of dance, music and theatre in each of her plays to provide an opportunity and to discover the creative talents of each child. Two of its guiding factors have been the instilling of joy and discipline in all endeavours of children’s lives, and using aesthetics to power their imagination.

With this end in mind began a journey, in a large Girls’ Secondary School in Jangpura Extension. Every summer, Umang held a two month long workshop, that included improvisations, storytelling , painting competitions, creative writing and mask making sessions, singing and dancing . Children from varied economic and social backgrounds would come together to put on stage a grand and spectacular blend of dance, music and of course drama.

Mobilizing this cause turned out to be a mammoth task, because initially parents were not forth coming. Most considered theatre a waste of time and insisted that their children use their vacations more productively by studying. It was only after Rekha ji went from house to house explaining the importance of a medium like theatre in the overall development of the child that some parents gave in and allowed their children to participate in Umang. The economically weak could not imagine indulging their children in luxuries like theatre workshops, so it took a lot of convincing before they consented to send their children as well.

The hard work put in was immense but so were the rewards. The first performance of Umang was widely appreciated and the group was invited to Calcutta for the National Children's Theatre Festival. In the following year, National School of Drama, Delhi, invited Umang to perform at their children's workshop. In 1983 Umang organised an international Childrens Theatre workshop in association with Max Mueller Bhawan, conducted by Mr. Volker Ludwig which was attended by eminent childrens theatre specialists of the country.

The subjects of each of Umang's plays are evolved during the two-month long workshop and in its 37 years of existence, Umang has dealt with a wide range of issues close to the hearts of the young actors and actresses. From unnecessary social barriers created by adults for children on the basis of economic differences that have been talked about in Diwali ke Patakhe to the universal terror of maths that has been dealt with in Ganit Desh; from the bravery of young children in Bahadur Chunnu to the ignorance and lack of respect for Indian classical music in Sa Re Ga Ma Tak Dhina Dhin to adaptation of popular folk tales like the Little Red Riding Hood that became Chhoti Laal Koshi or Puss in Boots that was presented as Billi Ka Khel.... the Umang Journey is quite varied an rich.

While the emphasis is on fun ('Umang' means joy), all the plays have a moral and social value and often serve as a message for the times that we live in, which becomes apparent to the participants in the course of the construction of the final performance. For instance, Kaun Bada Kaun Chhota was performed shortly after the disturbance in Punjab that was threatening another division of the country, the play dealt with this by portraying a falling out of the sensory organs of the human body and how it was impossible for them to function without each other.

Since 1997 Umang started a 'branch', so to speak, in NOIDA, where a month long workshop is held every year in association with A.N.A.W.A, and then a performance is put up at the Community Center. The workshop in NOIDA is coordinated by Ms. Omu Datta, who has been a member of the Umang family ever since its Jangpura days and continues to be an essential part till today. Some of the plays performed in NOIDA are Billi Ka Khel, Malyang Ki Koochi, Bahadur Chunnu etc.

Some directors other than Rekha ji have also directed the participants of Umang. These include the well known theatre personality Mr. B.V. Karanth who directed Kinnar Jogi in the year 2000, the Indian counterpart of the Pied Piper of Hamlet. Karanthji was an integral part of the Umang family as the Chairman of the Umang Managing Committee. This position is now graced by the foremost Kathak Dancer of our country - Pandit Birju Maharaj. Several leading artists of the country have been part of the Umang Parivar- formally or informally.

Other than staging the plays for a live audience, a number of plays have been recorded by Delhi Doordarshan and been telecast in Delhi through the years.

In the year 2004 Umang completed 25 years of its journey and celebrated the silver jubilee with a year long programme. The Umang Utsav consisted of National children's theatre festival, a Carnival featuring children of folk artists, theatre workshops for children including those with specifically in slum clusters and municipal schools, Theatre in education workshops with teachers in collaboration with SCERT, Paint The Wall-an interaction with eminent painters, Exhibition of Umangs 25 year’s journey, A cultural march, and publication of an anthology of children’s plays.

In 2010 Umang lost its founder-Director Rekha Jain. However over the years, she trained theatre practitioners who are now essential parts of the Umang family, and remain committed to the cause of bringing theatre to children.

In 2009 Rekha ji instituted the Bal Rang Samman for excellence in the field of Childrens Theatre. This was later rechristened Rekha Jain Bal Rang Samman in her memory.

Since last five years Umang has also diversified its activity to include Theatre in Education and Curriculum Theatre. Through continuous work with children and teachers, the attempt is to make education more participatory, experiential , creative and fun.

Umang is registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 in 1981vide Registration No. S/11991 dated 29th Aug 1981.

Umang is also registered under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 1976 under section 6(1)(a) of the Act and allotted registration NO. 231650511 vide Ministry of Home Affairs letter No. 11/21022/83(89)/88 – FCRA-III dated 30th Dec, 1988..

Umang is also exempted under section 80G (5)(VI) of the Income Tax 1961.