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Our stories Archives - Young People's Theatre Programme

The Power to be You: Small Performances make a Big Difference!

Ritu NSS Grandparent's Day
The students of grade 5A at the NSS Hillspring International School performed a play titled “I am Me” for their grandparents. DISP instructor Ritu Jalan helped her class create some interesting mime pieces, short poems as well as a sound orchestra to tell this simple but deeply meaningful story to their grandparents.

Ritu with Kids - NSSThe play was about Daksh, a 9 year old who is known for his outrageous, unconventional ideas. However, along the way, the life he observes teaches him that being conventional is simpler and living in the box like everyone else is not just easier but also ridiculously advantageous. Daksh learns to play along, but deep inside, he is not convinced.

One day, he and his friends share a fruit platter. A seemingly innocuous snack.

But while savouring the various bits of fruit, Daksh and his friend discover how very much like the world the platter is – where each fruit has it’s own flavour, but together they still create an awesome dish. This metaphor takes them to the conclusion of the story, where all the kids conclude that the world would be a much richer place if everyone believed in their own unique ideas instead of imitating each other for the sake
of convenience.

Now that was some fruit platter!

Ritu with Kids

Summer with the Young People’s Theatre Programme!

The heat is on!

With the kick-start of summer, the Young People’s Theatre Programme is delighted about bringing some exciting activities for young people spanning the age-group 4 to 16.

We begin with partnering with Kahani Karnival and curating the sessions at the Kahani Karnival Theatre Gala on 26 April at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum. Come, celebrate our wonderful City Museum through the medium of theatre.  Create stories through movement, discover the magic of maps through puppets, get your hands dirty with earthy materials, find the fun in The Museum’s corridors and collections, and watch performances!

Check out the schedule here

Kahani Karnival Theatre Gala

Come May, we kick-off our first workshop with Acting Schmacting by Komal Gujarathi.

Komal completed her Masters degree in Bharatnatyam and continued to train in Contemporary Dance, Ballet, and Movement Art from Attakalari in Bangalore. She has been teaching dance in schools for 6 years, and is currently a drama instructor with the Young People’s Theatre Programme.

acting schmacting

Next up, we’re at Summer Fiesta at the NCPA! Shruti Maria Datar will facilitate the workshop Little Wings for 4-6 year olds.
Shruti is a trained Bharatnatyam and Contemporary dancer, having taken taken up dance training and teaching professionally in Belgium. Her interest rests in blending the aesthetic potential of Theatre and Movement.

little wings

But that’s not all!

For the very first time, the Young People’s Theatre Programme is coming to Pune with Masti with Masks!

What makes masks so fascinating? How can you use masks to tell stories?
This workshop encourages participants to explore their creativity through theatre and art. They will create basic as well as traditional Indian masks using craft and scrap material, with the intention of understanding mask work. They will then use this understanding to bring their mask to life through movement and theatre exercises, finally working towards a short performance.

Abhishek is an artist and creative arts enabler. His workshops focus on engaging with the process of creativity and using this as a tool for self reflection, self exploration and self expression.


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So come join us this summer, as we explore the fun in theatre!

“What is this life if, full of care”

What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.” – W. H. Davies, Leisure

It was only fitting that this poem provided inspiration for a play performed by the students of NSS Hillspring International School for Grandparents Day. In the fast paced world we live in, it’s almost necessary to take the time out and celebrate the many people, relationships, and bonds that enrich our lives, and inculcate the same in our young adults. In December last year, the students of Grade 3, division A presented this play, titled Leisure, for their grandparents. Our drama instructor at the school, Ritu Jalan  recounts the day.

Read more…

An IGCSE Facilitator shares her experiences

“The IGCSE is a wonderful curriculum. In my experience of delivering this programme I have almost always encountered a huge development within the student over the two years they spend in the programme. The benefits are seen not only in Drama but in other spheres of their life and studies – students develop immense confidence and creativity, which is an added advantage. The curriculum ensures that the students emerge with a huge amount of knowledge and understanding of theatre and performance, which sets them apart from their peers. Reflective and performance skills are carefully honed and contribute towards this overall development. What I particularly like about the curriculum is that it allows for students of different learning backgrounds to excel in the subject – one need not be a star-actor to do well. Just like any other subject, IGCSE Drama requires dedication and persistence from the student as well as the teacher; the benefits are manifold and the experience a life-changing one. I have truly enjoyed nurturing the process.”

Rituparna Bhattacharya, Facilitator, The Young People’s Theatre Programme

Rituparna Bhattacharya has a track record of achieving high results in IGCSE Drama and IB Theatre Arts in schools. She is certified in IB Theatre Arts (Level 1 and 2) and IGSCE Drama (as an examiner).

Last Year Rituparna taught for us at Legacy International.

From Home Room teacher to Drama teacher

Preeti Shekhawat used to be a Pre-Primary Home Room teacher who discovered Drama. She found with Drama that children expressed themselves more clearly, and were more honest in their interactions.

She realised: “It’s the values they inculcate that define how successful they are as human beings. And it’s especially hard to teach abstractions in the classroom.”

Preeti Shekhawat looked for ways to supplement her skills, and participated in Theatre Professionals’ Using Drama for Learning workshop series. The Young People’s Theatre Programme persuaded her Principal to include Drama from the Pre-Primary level, because Preeti understood that this sharing, community-driven route was the way to learn, for life.

We even supported her career, by convincing school management to move her from the Pre-Primary Home room to exclusively teaching Drama. Preeti Shekhawat was mentored, one-on-one, by educators from the Young People’s Theatre Programme.

She would like to make a permanent space for Drama in her school. We’re helping her get there.

Timira Gupta, a core team member of The Young People’s Theatre Programme, mentors Preeti Shekhawat.

A parent’s perspective – on experiencing the carnival

The school was unrecognisable! I think it was the cafeteria, but they’d converted it into a completely-believable set of an airplane. The children gave us cleverly-constructed passports and boarding tickets and coloured hats, so we were going to do this in groups. And that was a nice change, instead of sitting in the auditorium and waiting for that blink-and-you-miss moment that my son would be on stage.

My son, instead, was the captain of this particular airplane, and he told us what we could expect to see as we travelled through. 300 children transformed their school so that we could journey with them across continents.

From China we went to Burma, then America, Germany, to the foothills of Mt Kilimanjaro. I really enjoyed my ‘visit’ to New Zealand, for the Maoris, and the story of Maui and the Magic Fish Hook.

They’d done so much – these children and their teachers. It was so clear that every teacher was involved, from Fine Arts and History, to Geography and the Sciences. The children were comfortable in their characters – I might have been a little nervous for them!

The Carnival is a unique way to showcase the school. It allows children and parents to experience each other up close, in performance. They discover with each show that every audience has different reactions, and learn to adapt. The parents get to see their children performing for longer, shining in the spotlight! The result is spectacular, and distinctly different from the known Annual Day.

The day Basavaraj shone!

8-year-old Basavaraj was dropped to school every day by his uncle, a rickshaw driver. He was from a low-income, Kannada-speaking family. Going to the new Podar International School was a matter of pride and prestige. Deshik Vansadia, our director, selected to adapt Dr Seuss’ The Lorax for 200 children. There was something about Basavaraj that made Deshik decide that he would be the Lorax. No one thought Basavaraj could do it. Deshik spent time with him after school. The principal, Mr Shivananda, spent hours helping him with his lines. His uncle would wait patiently to collect him. Deshik wrote Basavaraj’s English lines in Kannada, but the child kept on with the original in English. Everyone said to re-cast, but Deshik was adamant. What’s the point of doing a play with children if they’re not given a chance? Basavaraj was meant to walk across the grounds through the seated crowd and deliver his lines. But a space to seat 250 now burst with over 500 people. It was chaos. The path was blocked. Nothing was going to stop the determined boy. He firmly but politely made his way through a human ocean, determined to say his lines, and said, “I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees!”

Seeing new sides to learners

“The children are happy to be in class. They come in with a lot of excitement and have begun to understand that Drama is not ONLY about fun and games. They seem to be warming up to the idea of learning new concepts and skills. Some of the grades are taking a lot of initiative in creating their own work, especially in groups. Some children who started the year quiet and reserved are opening up.

A couple of my biggest triumphs were with Sohum and Aryan who initially would hardly EVER speak. Sohum is now very vocal in class and participates fully. Aryan surprised me with the puppet work where he actually spoke out loudly and clearly in the puppet scene.

Even supposedly disruptive students, like Danish, have been participating wholeheartedly in the sessions, and are very eager to contribute.

Shruti Sridharan, Trainer, at the Euro School, Airoli

Shruti holds a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from Mumbai University, and from 2001, has worked in Theatre, and taught Drama extensively.

Inquiry-based learning at work

The unit of inquiry was Leadership. We began with Drama exercises that got students to lead and follow. We introduced the idea of Status.

Theatre of the Oppressed: Columbian Hypnosis. Are we natural leaders or followers? How do we deal with strong, oppressive leaders? We formed a forum with one student as an oppressive leader, and got the group to think of creative ways to deal with oppression. They made the connection to how people interact with their leaders and how people can bring about change.

In review, we reflected on the role of Leadership throughout the process.

We made a Mind Map of our understanding of Drama. We then worked on small skits keeping this in mind: action/ re-action, conflict/ resolution, obstacles/ overcoming obstacles.

Using the story of Little Red Riding Hood, students created pre-production design booklets for costume, props, lights, sound and sets.

The Nativity Play was written by the students. They created their own costumes, sets, props, slide shows and even worked on sound and light, culminating in a final performance in front of the whole school.

These are extracts from mid-term reviews for Grade 5, NSS Hillspring International School by Shaizia Jifri, Trainer, The Young People’s Theatre Programme

As Theatre Professionals’ most senior trainer, Shaizia is a constant source of information, inspiration, knowledge and experience for the rest of the team. Shazia also runs puppetry workshops for children outside of school.

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