NSD's rural children theatre program begins with Odisha

New Delhi


 In a move to promote children's theatre in rural India, the National School of Drama (NSD) will showcase the results of its first such effort with Odisha's tribal children in the form of two plays produced in a Children's Theatre Workshop in the state.

Calling theatre the perfect educational tool, NSD Director In-Charge Suresh Sharma said that the national drama school is targeting the interiors of India, including India's tribal belt, for widening the base of children's theatre in the country.

"Many public schools appoint drama teachers, even the Delhi Government has started to introduce theatre to school goers. But children who don't have access to these educational spaces get left out and we're aiming at them," Sharma, a theatre veteran, told IANS here.

In its first such exercise, NSD organised theatre workshops in remote villages of Odisha -- Harichandanpur in Keonjhar district and Pallahara in Angul district. They involved 80 local children, at least 60 per cent of whom belong to different tribes, and borrowed from their own stories for the play plots, Sharma said.

The month-long workshops culminate with the staging of the two plays in the respective villages.

"Theatre changes the way you look at life, and brings a sense of discipline. It assimilates in itself performing art forms of dance, music, puppetry and more," Sharma added.

The NSD plans to focus next on tribal-dominated areas in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. 

Similar workshops, however, have been taking place in the national capital since 1976. This year, the children's theatre workshop here trained 90 children aged between 8-15 years.

Delhi children are going to stage three productions which pay tribute to Rabindranath Tagore. 

"All three plays resulting from the workshop here are inspired from Tagore's stories", Sharma said.

The workshops, organised by the NSD's Children Theatre Wing, were helmed by the school graduates who understand how "sensitive it is to work with children", he added. 

The stagings in both Odisha and Delhi will take place from June 18. IANS