Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi on Saturday started the five-day long 6th Children’s Street Theatre Festival in which 15 productions by students of Government Schools will be staged. These plays have been evolved by children during theatre workshops.
To take education and learning beyond classrooms, young theatre directors and actors from various groups are conducting regular theatre workshops at various city government schools in collaboration with the department of education.
“For the last two years, the Akademi has been engaged in facilitating thinking skills through creative processes using theatre as a medium by organising children’s community theatre workshops and play productions in government schools of Chandigarh. Till now we have organised 80 such workshops, play productions and five children’s community theatre festivals,” said chairperson of the Akademi, G S Chani.
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He added that the aim is to cover all disadvantaged government and non-government schools over the next four years. To meet the challenges of the task, the Akademi has selected facilitators who are not only skilled theatre directors, but are also sensitive in handling children, and are further trained in doing theatre with children which is different from mainstream theatre.
Children’s theatre, explain the facilitators, is not supposed to take up issues pertaining to theatre of adults. It has to focus on children and their concerns. It looks at a child as a potential seed, which has all the possibilities of becoming a big tree. They are encouraged to develop thinking skills and self-confidence so that they can explore the unexplored. It helps them to go beyond themselves, to go beyond the lethal routine of mundane life.
For the present workshops and the festival, the 15 facilitators explored various aspects of children’s theatre through child exercises and improvisations. Various activities were designed to draw attention of the adult world to the cultural and aesthetic needs of the children.
The participating children evolved their own play, working with the facilitators to write the script, present and mount the play production.
The subjects of the plays evolved from experiences, incidents, from the children’s own life, and the world around them, which they further explored through mime, sequential thinking, observation, sharing, story-telling, drawing, puppetry.
“We have activities which facilitate personal sharing among children. The improvisations and written stories/experiences of the participants are scanned and the common experiences of the children are picked up. As a part of our approach to reach out to the children through creative activities, we have been using many techniques to break barriers to learning and you will witness the work and process while watching the plays,” Chani said.
The plays are being staged at Sector 17 Plaza, from 5 pm onwards. On Sunday, ‘Ek Anake Ekta, Mr. Attractive, Putha Sidha and Ufff’ will be staged.