A unique creative plan is brewing among the students of Rewachand Bhojwani School in Pune Camp. The students are putting in place a travelling children’s theatre, a first of its kind in the city.
Students from Class IV onwards will be the part of this group and they will ideate, write, direct and rehearse their own plays. The project is expected to take off from June, and the team behind it hopes to put out two plays every term. Every short play will have a community issue at its heart, and the group, to be called The RBA Players, will visit PMC schools and other institutions where they will perform for free.
“The school’s focus has been on creativity and the students also have community contact through NGO visits and more. We thought of going beyond and utilising the values and creative expression already inculcated in the children,” said Randhir Khare, director, The Rewachand Bhojwani Academy.
The theatre group’s main aim is to take the children’s perspective of their environment and people to other children, whom they may not come in contact with otherwise. The students will discuss their concerns and ideas with the help of Khare and two others from the school who are attached to the project, and develop scripts for skits and short plays.
Zainab Haideri, a teacher at the school for the past six years, will help the students construct the stories better. “I will help them with the dialogues, acting, stage presentation, etc. We will try to portray their experiences in an educative form,” she said.
The mentoring staff that she is part of will conduct breathing exercise sessions, lessons on body language, hand gestures and other aspects of theatre over a three-week rehearsal span. These will be achieved by substituting some lesson classes with rehearsal time. The three major opinion points for the The RBA Players are their view of the adults around them; their assertion that their voices be heard; and a comic view of the world around them.
Though the group is yet to formally start showcasing plays, it staged a full-fledged performance called All You Need Is Love at Nehru Memorial Hall on February 14. “A year-and-a-half from now, we hope to have a small folding stage and a basic sound system with us so that we don’t need a closed hall to stage a play,” said Khare.