New course to make theatre practitioners SMART

A new course looks to equip theatre practitioners with skills that help sustain a theatre group.

Written by Kevin Lobo | Talk | Updated: August 19, 2014 12:03:53 pm
Veterans from the India Theatre Forum discuss SMART. Veterans from the India Theatre Forum discuss SMART.

Artists have had to equip themselves with survival skills to pursue their passion, but many don’t manage to. For theatre practitioners though, here’s a new programme by veterans in the industry. Conceptualised by India Theatre Forum, a theatre network run by and for people committed to the art form, SMART (Strategic Management in the Art of Theatre), will be conducted in three phases in Bangalore. It is scheduled to begin on January 17, 2015 with a 10-day residential workshop followed by a six-month period of a mentor working with your theatre group, and a two-day residency where attendees present what they have learnt and party.

Sameera Iyengar, course director, says, “We feel that if a practitioner uses his time and resources effectively, it would help him reach his creative potential. While there are courses on art management in the country, theatre has specific issues, which differ from region to region. This course is looking to fill that gap.”

With funding from the India Foundation of Arts (IFA) for the next three years, SMART will cost Rs 15,000 for two people, and Rs 10,000 for one. So what does SMART actually teach? “One of our first objectives is to get people to remember and reflect on the core values that makes them want to do theatre. People get so busy struggling to survive that they forget why they started doing theatre in the first place,” says Iyengar. SMART then dives into specifics. From developing an audience base to raising funds, Iyengar and the course facilitators — Arundhati Ghosh, Executive Director, IFA; Sanjna Kapoor, Co-Founder and Director, Junoon; Sudhanva Deshpande, Jana Natya Manch and Studio Safdar, among others — have developed the programme to suit India’s theatre industry needs.

Discussions on SMART began last year. One of the issues that came up was how each theatre group is good at different aspects of staging a play. While some manage their finances efficiently, others handle administration well. “The theatre groups do a lot of things ad hoc,” says director Sunil Shanbag, one of the facilitators. “Because we are caught up with getting dates for venues, figuring out money, we tend to lose sense of the larger goal. For me, SMART will get people thinking and make them reflect on what they want their larger body of work to look like,” he says.

Those interested can contact Ashish Mehta – 09922935591. Last date for applications is September 30

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