No stage fear for children

School kids in the city are showing an active interest in performing in plays
Parents have often grumbled about how screens in varied sizes have taken over their kids lives. Thankfully, it seems that the stages are now taking over. Be it adapting classics and epics in short plays alike, using fairytales and picture books for narrative productions, unfolding stories through musicals, opera, or puppetry in shadows and colours, tots are now glued to theatre like never before. Whether it is to foster creativity through movement, improve communication or simply to fill them with wonder and excitement, theatre seems to be picking up pace on Bengaluru’s pulsating cultural backdrop.
With wide curious eyes, these kids are transported into another world altogether. “Theatre, like books, not only educates kids but also entertains them,” says puppet director Mohammad Ansari who is all set to direct Pinocchio for kids as part of Rangashankara’s AHA! International Theatre Fest for Children. Having read about it since he was a kid, he couldn’t think of another story that would make children impossibly happy while giving out a message. Interpreting lessons like climate change to simpler morals like honesty, love and compassion, these plays aren’t picking up pace only in English. According to Ansari, “A lot of plays explore mythology and adapt Indian authors to keep kids connected with culture and language, such that they don’t get lost.”
The city is also booming with workshops to let the budding thespian thrive. “As much as we may crib about not having enough space in curricula, theatre for children is finding more platforms across the metros,” says Shaili Sathyu, founder of Gillo Theatre Repertory, a platform that not just organises workshops, but also performs theatre shows for children of different age groups across India. For kids, this space not just gives them an opportunity for experiential learning, but a healthy space to explore the world around them. “Yes, there are therapeutic aspects, but I certainly do not believe in ‘helping kids’. As artistes we are sharing our art, stories we love and the joy that we experience through theatre, sparking imagination and also curiosity. Young people need space to question the status quo, and I think the arts are a wonderful space for this,” points out the lass who thanks to her father, director MS Sathyu, was born into the theatre tradition. Bringing Hanuman Ki Ramayan and She-He-Shey based on Tagore’s Shey to Bengaluru it’s not just the magical sets that draw children to her plays like the pied piper does. It’s also the intense power of simplicity of these tales and the lessons they allow to take with you.
With theatre being inculcated into school curriculums as a subject, parents too have realised that their kids putting on a play is more than just costumes, applause and stage bows. “Aside of developing a positive self image and high self esteem, it gives kids the opportunity to indulge in teamwork and see a project through from start to finish,” says Shruti Sudhir who enrolled her twins into Artistes’ Repertory Theatre (ART) at Jagriti Theatre. Aside of this, Logos Theatre, Ranga Shankara, Bangalore Little Theatre, Bangalore School of Speech and Drama and Benaka Makkala Nataka Kendra all offer short courses so all the world can be a stage for teenyboppers. “It is fine that my child doesn’t understand every nuance of the language, even perhaps missed the storyline. But the movement on stage, sound and costumes absorb her into an other world, letting her savour the experience,” says Pranitha Shastri, who makes sure to introduce her six-year-old to the magical world of theatre.
( Source : deccan chronicle )
Next Story