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Play out what you think

LiveMint logoLiveMint 15-05-2014 Chanpreet Khurana

What is it like to be a teenager today? How do pre-teens and teens feel about the things they see every day in the city around them? And how do they reconcile their parents’ worry about their safety with wanting to hang out with friends till late at night?

These are just some of the difficult questions that have come up during previous “Making It!” annual theatre workshops for children aged 8-14, says Sukhesh Arora, director of the New Delhi-based Yellowcat Arts Co.

Over the years, workshop participants have devised performances on subjects like their impressions of growing up in the city, how they see autorickshaw drivers, and just going shopping with friends at a mall. “Usually these things evolve from a small scene. Like with the play Who Moved My Family, which started with the group improvising a scene where a 13-year-old girl wants to go out with her friends in the evening and faces some resistance from her family to let her stay out late,” says Arora.

This year too, Arora and his team are gearing up for ideation and theatre production sessions with a group of up to 20 participants. During the workshop, which starts on 23 May, Yellowcat trainers will take ideas from the participants on what they want to turn into a theatre production and guide them through a process of fleshing out that idea to tell a cogent story.

To be sure, parents and children have several theatre, movement and storytelling classes to choose from. In Mumbai, the National Centre for the Performing Arts is conducting 33 workshops for children aged 4-18. In Bangalore, Jagriti Theatre recently launched its Kids’ Carnival with a host of activities planned till 1 June. Mumbai-based Gillo Theatre is travelling to Kolkata to offer workshops from 22-26 May at Studio 21 and Earthcare Books. And in New Delhi, the National School of Drama is offering a summer theatre workshop for eight- to 16-year-olds, from 21 May-22 June.

“My son has so much energy, I feel I need to channel it,” says Namrata Rai Gupta, who sends her son Aryaman, 10, to workshops for dance, theatre and outdoor activities every summer. She says that while Aryaman is headed to a camp organized by outdoors activities company Inme this year, she loves the “Making It!” production he was part of last year—the children put up a classroom scene and made a time machine to escape the monotony of rote learning and exam pressure.

Arora says the idea of “Making It!” is to use theatre games and exercises to help participants structure their thoughts to convey them well. Like the simple “image exercise” where Arora works with the participants to explore visuals that can be used to tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end around their idea.

“Making It!” will be held from 23 May-14 June, 9am-1pm (Mondays-Fridays), at Instituto Cervantes, Hanuman Road, Connaught Place; and BumbleBees School, Greater Kailash-II. The final performances will be on 14 June at Instituto Cervantes. Fee, `7,000. To register, call 40580158 or 9718688621.

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