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India: Theatre in Education

Tolubommalata & Koodiyattam are few amongst the variegated theatre forms in the sub-continent. While this ancient art is slowing fading away, modern Indian theatre is taking stage. It now is not only a form of entertainment but a beacon for educating young minds. Umesh from ‘Theatre in Education’ explains that impressions both big and small can be directed on children. While in the same blog, announcements are made as to how teachers are lectured on teaching Math and Science in the ‘theatre form’.

We chose The Lorax, Dr. Seuss’s rhyme filled with utterly nonsensical words, but superbly sensible message about saving the trees. We read the play, but decided that the ideas had to come from the children. Therefore we made them create Tableaus – still pictures. The topics were simple in the beginning, like “standing in the rain”. They got the hang of it and the topics got tougher. Topics became, A Ferrari car, Stuck in a Lift, At the Dentist and Any topic of your choice. The results were astounding. They had no problems handling the topics, and were often more creative than so called “mature” adults. The tableaus gave us the key to creating the play.

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Theatre Capital on the other hand, not only has bits of information on their on-going projects but also pictures of various happenings all the way in Bangalore. The information that caught my attention was the results on Xth ICSE drama class, it was surprising to know that drama/theatre was already a part of the new ICSE syllabus.

The scores were spectacular to say the least. Ranging from 86% to 97% these students were winners all the way in Drama

The Playbacktheatre’s group has one of the most innovative ways to bring real life, everyday scenarios back into play.

Then we moved into stories, an eight year old shared his heart-wrenching story of losing his parents and taking to the streets, of traveling hundreds of miles taking on various jobs…before finally landing up here. We jumped into the story with gusto, each actor playing his part. At the end the audience applause lasted for a really long time.

Theatre in India seems to evolve with its worlds surround and to all those innovators and educators my heartfelt adulations but I only hope and pray that they might someday revive those ancient art forms and make it presentable to the Indian cinema cults in the genre of 99% style and 1% substance like Hawkeye reviews.

Photo Courtesy : TheatreCapital

4 comments

  • This is a really good piece. There doesn’t seem to be enough understanding out there about the power of theatre in education. It’s such an engaging and effective tool for learning that it should be used far more. Thanks.

  • Zahira

    I am doing research in TIE under the FIP of the UGC. The title is Theatre as a Living Social Discourse:Negotiations in Classrooms

  • Ritesh

    Interesting, im doing research on the subject!

    • Dr. Vijay K. Sevak

      I’m practising TiE and am to be engaged in research within a month or two.

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