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Nukkad Natak: 'Padhna Kitna Zaroori' - Street Theatre Workshop

This was a children’s theatre workshop to learn the intricacies of expression, communication, posture and timing with the help of several games and role-playing exercises. The children were asked to observe and enact interpersonal relationships and express various feelings through theatre. The workshop culminated in a skit based on the significance of education and the desire to learn in children.

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The street theatre workshop was conducted in collaboration with a team of professional actors, Mr. Saleem Zaidi  IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association) Delhi, and Mr. Siddharth. The project involved a series of 2-3 hour workshops held daily over the course of three weeks, at the KHOJ Studios.

During the introductory session, Mr. Zaidi was invited to speak about the concept of a Nukkad Natak and its various elements. Mr. Zaidi also spoke about the importance of commitment and attendance to the daily rehearsals to ensure the performance was a success.  He ascertained the children’s willingness to participate and inspired them to join the workshop.

The street theatre sessions began on the afternoon of 15th of July, at the KHOJ Studios. On the first day, there was an overwhelming response of 35 children. The workshop was defined as a space where the children could freely engage in activities they were usually forbidden to do at home, at schools and in the public sphere (e.g. to be loud, scream, make noise and express themselves freely and fearlessly in voice and body). In the month-long workshop, the children were taught about the intricacies of expression, dialogue delivery, posture and timing, with the help of several games and role-playing exercises conducted by Mr. Zaidi. As time went by ,some children were unable to continue or dropped out and eventually a core group of 16 remained up until the performance.

In the initial sessions, the children were given tasks to enact skits/one-act plays on dynamics within the family. They were asked to observe their parents and enact interpersonal relationships where they could express their grievances, displeasure, expectations and aspirations for their children. The final play was scripted and developed based on one of the skits presented at one of the initial sessions. The play was roughly based on the significance of education and children’s desire to learn. For the final performance, the Nukkad Natak was titled Padhna Kitna Zaroori: the children brought in their own ideas and thematics while Mr. Zaidi and Mr. Siddharth fine-tuned the script, structure and direction.

In line with the Nukkad Natak tradition, the children announced the venue, duration, time and name of the play in the community one day prior to the final performance. We also soought permission from the elderly women who were the regulars at the Khirkee Village Park for the final performance. On behalf of KHOJ, we organised new costumes for the troupe.

The play attracted a lot of interest from the community, from the elderly to the youth playing soccer in the park. The enthusiasm from the audience demonstrated the growing need and demand for more community art activities which bring people together.


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