As the summer gets intense, a good way to keep the young ones occupied is through theatre workshops. The thrill of seeing your child on stage at the end of the course is drawing new converts. Alka Bansal, vice principal of Union Academy School in Gole Market and mother of 13-year-old Anish, says summer camps are predictably boring. “Children really enjoy theatre workshops. My son is an only child and was an introvert. Play-way and confidence building exercises helped him break out of his shell.”
Among a smorgasbord of groups, one is trying to do things differently. Yellow Cat (YC) is a five-year-old theatre company that works without scripts and lets the children call the shots in writing, casting and acting. “We don’t have a script for the kids, we make one with them,” says Sukhesh Arora, 38, the brain-child behind YC. “They come up with ideas, which are usually from television and films, and we keep asking questions till they can break through and think beyond. From deciding who’ll play the lead roles from among themselves to the style of acting, it all comes from the kids,” he explains.
Geetu Monga, mother of 12-year-old Rasagya who attended YC’s workshop a few years ago and was shortlisted for the cast of Slumdog Millionaire, says it is better that the children learn through observing their peers’ interpretation of feelings. Adds Vandana Das, mother of 11-year-old Aryaman. “They don’t even realise when it’s actually time to perform! Also, they get to learn group dynamics with people they don't know, unlike in school.”
With the education system in India orienting itself towards more holistic development of a child, theatre is becoming part of the curriculum. Arora, who trained under theatre veteran Barry John earlier, works with schools such as Sri Ram in Gurgaon and Gyan Bharti in Saket where drama is a part of regular syllabus. Lesson of the story: Discover their latent talent early.