For four puppeteers, a meeting with students and teachers of Shri Ram College for Commerce (SRCC) has meant a chance to take their art to more people and make the profession more viable.
Working under the SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise, which is now called Enactus), the students conducted surveys and identified four low-income puppeteers in Kathputli Colony, Shadipur Depot for a project aimed at empowering them.
According to Abhay Kumar, faculty advisor, Enactus, the puppeteers traditionally told stories of only kings and their kingdoms and had not innovated in terms of the script.
Therefore, Enactus organised a special development sessions by a professional theatre mentor in script building and show designing for the puppeteers. The sessions enabled them to independently develop a puppet show on the theme of bullying. Modern puppets were made for the children so that they can easily relate to the show.
The puppeteers were also given an opportunity to go through a month long internship which helped them learn from internationally renowned puppeteers.
The group also plans to help the puppeteers establish contact with event management companies and teach them marketing and communication skills.
The first group of puppeteers has already held 10 puppet shows and a workshop. The project will be extended to more members of the colony in the coming month.