"All the world's a stage,And all the men and women merely players,They have their exits and their entrances,And one man in his time plays many parts,His acts being seven ages..."
These lines written by William Shakespeare carry a strong message, a message that theatre is ingrained in our lives and that it teaches us lessons that help us through our course. And if these lessons are taught to students through the medium of theatre, in their fundamental years, they succeed in shaping their lives better. This is the reason that students in schools are exposed to theatre as an activity.
We at Abhipraay understand the essence of theatre in the overall development of a child and keeping this in mind we made an attempt to expose our children to the world of performing arts. Under the mentorship of our founders, we conducted a theatre workshop for a group of fifty between the age of 5-11, all of who are students at Abhipraay foundation. It was a week long affair in mid-january 2014 where we invited Pankaj Tiwari and his team (The Fotons) to deliver it. Pankaj is a theatre activist (Director, Actor, and Designer), a passout of Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts. Although he is from theatre, but his work generally crosses the boundaries of theatre, and tries to do a collaborative art work, which includes videos, visual arts, dance and other art forms.
The agenda of the workshop was manifold. We aimed at making our students more emotionally aware and capable of venting their pent up emotions for their holistic well-being. The workshop was also meant to create a sense of belongingness in the minds of the children towards the community.
There was particular focus on environmental theatre that sent out a message to the children to protect their environment, specially their immediate environment, which when shared with their respective families became a community habit and a major boost to community well-being. That apart, the children were very enthusiastic about the challenges thrown at them. They were asked to create 'Best-out-of-waste' which essentially gave them the confidence to create out of nothingness. Their creations were also exhibited at the end of the workshop which won them both appreciation and a critical review.
In the process, we were also able to evaluate the potential of each student that helped us draw up a plan for such workshops in the future by figuring out details such as how many students should be in a workshop, which students should experience workshops of which level, how many hours should be devoted per workshop etc.
And we as spectators saw them learn, grow and become more aware citizens of society.