Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts is about fifteen minutes' walk from McLeod Gunj. Established in 1959, TIPA was the very first institution in exile. It is the home of lhamo, the arrestingly colourful and unique folk opera of Tibet. TIPA preserves a wide repertoire of musical, dance and theatrical traditions from Tibet. To balance the weight of tradition in its repertoire, the institute has a modern Theater Troupe which puts on contemporary plays. TIPA also maintains its own workshops for making costumes, masks and musical instruments. TIPA trains instructors who are sent out to teach music and the performing arts at schools and settlements throughout India and Nepal. It also runs a schools where a mix of modern academic and traditional Tibetan education is provided to children who are, in addition, trained in Tibetan music, dancing and acting from an early age. Of late, TIPA has started a special programme to teach the Tibetan performing arts to non-Tibetans TIPA holds an annual Folk Opera Festival in April. A number of folk operas, dance programmes, plays and concerts are presented on this occasion. It is always an exciting time to be in Dharamsala. On important national holidays throughout the year other performances are given.