Puppet Theatre Chandigarh seeks to explore the potential of puppetry in education and entertainment.
From libraries to theatre festivals,and parks to pavements,Puppet Theatre Chandigarh is exploring new grounds to highlight the potential of puppetry in education,entertainment and even as therapy. Working since 2005,the NGO is the collective effort of a few,who strive to bring some change in society using puppetry and storytelling as tools.
Puppet Theatre Chandigarh was part of the recently held Mask Theatre Festival in the city,where two of its members Subhasis Neogi and Anupama Neogi conducted a one-day workshop in puppetry and theatre. Having worked extensively in theatre using rods and giant puppets,and having staged plays on issues such as female foeticide,deforestation and air pollution,they introduced children as well as adults to theatre games and puppet making. We wanted everyone to experience it,and understand the interplay of light and shadow on stage. It had to be a visual show as that was our endeavour, says Anupama,who used puppets and kavaad,a traditional Rajasthani storytelling technique,for the show.
The duo is now promoting neighbourhood corners in various sectors of the city,where parents would get together to play,create and discover a brand-new approach to learning and communicating. Its like a cooperative as parents get together and talk,children get a platform to express their feelings,ideas and apprehensions, says Subhasis.
The husband-wife duo has also created stories on issues that children face violence,peer pressures,growing-up pangs,exams and competition. The characters are played by children and their parents,and the subjects are in todays context, says Anupama. While some stories have come out of their discussions with parents,others have come from the children themselves.
The mix of role play,puppetry and theatre helps, adds Anupama,who,along with Subhasis,is now developing a curriculum where symbols,visual aids,stories and theatre will help tackle science mysteries and the complexity of maths and history.
Its an organic process and gets like-minded people together on a common ground, says Anupama. She mentions a math story in which children can learn measurement,and another one that talks about life processes and general science.