New Delhi, Dec 06

T

he National Centre of Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai associates with the National Theatre, London, to bring an exciting and unique youth theatre initiative - Connections India, for the second time to schools in Mumbai.

Speaking about the second season of Connections India, Bruce Guthrie, Head of Theatre and Films, NCPA, said, “The idea is to build on the success of last year and hopefully expand it into a truly national project with future editions. We have done that by including workshops, trips and tours of the NCPA, to bring different schools in the same space together. The conversations that are then enabled form the crux of the festival, they are what makes it a festival. Every single teacher that we worked with and a majority of the parents felt that their kids had been massively changed by the experience for the better and that is huge. One of the great questions facing us, particularly working with NGO schools, is how to continue the opportunity. It’s about creating space to learn and grow. And this is a keystone event for us in that sense. Our crown jewel, as it were, is the Connections Festival.”

The holistic theatre programme will offer students across age groups the opportunity to perform in a festival of fantastic new plays written for young people by acclaimed playwrights. In its second rendition, Connections India will witness 10 schools from around Mumbai, present their theatre experience on stage at the Experimental Theatre, NCPA between the 11th to the 15th of January 2024.

Bethany Pitts, NT Facilitator, expressed, “Connections is about so much more than the performance itself. The rehearsal process develops transferable skills like teamwork, problem-solving, building confidence and developing an understanding of people through exploring character. The plays specifically written for young people also allow them to explore topics that might be affecting them—bullying, climate change or grief—in a safe space and to develop empathy and understanding for experiences outside of their own. With the workshops, we wanted to create a sense of ensemble. You don’t often get to spend time in a room full of directors. It was an incredible resource for everyone involved to have all these other directors investigating their play together, like one huge director’s brain. Our experience in India was a bit of a whirlwind! It was brilliant to meet so many artistes and directors here and learn about the great work the NCPA is doing. We are looking forward to coming back to see what all the directors have created and to see a different season in Mumbai.”

Anahita Uberoi, Creative Learning Director, Connections, added, “It is very exciting to build and develop a project like this from scratch. It’s a joy to see teenagers own the process and bring to the audience a dynamic, powerful, hard-hitting piece of theatre. This is a platform that speaks the voice of teenagers. Of the 10 schools on board this year, six are NGO schools and four of the IB board. The opportunity given to all is the same. It is their job to dive in, grapple with the material, understand teamwork, feel the spotlight on their faces and shine. They make friends for life. It is a far bigger process than just a play. It is an invaluable life lesson.”IANSlife can be contacted at ianslife@ians.in

Inculcating experience-oriented education amongst growing children India

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