There’s something inherently magical about the world of theatre. By allowing the imagination to take flight, it boosts creativity and nourishes the mind. That’s what prompted Sanjna Kapoor, co-founder of Junoon, along with Sameera Iyengar, to kickstart Arts at Play, a series of workshops that aim to ensure that the arts occupy an integral part of children’s lives.
Mind at play
Towards this end, they are organising a series of workshops featuring 18 professional instructors who will teach children to read a story and enact it, analyse scenes from great texts in both Indian and world theatre, learn about sounds and movements to make storytelling fun, train in different forms of Indian dances, turn newspapers into magical puppets and make music out of buttons and sand among other activities.
Apart from this, there will also be sessions for children to create their mini-theatre in a box, learn the 3,000-year-old tenets of Natyashastra and help them re-discover the play of words in Hindi, through poetry, verse, prose, nonsense and gibberish.
Speaking about Arts at Play, Sanjna Kapoor, says that in many ways it’s a continuation of the Summertime workshops that were held at Prithvi Theatre. “Junoon will conduct activities that promote appreciation for the arts throughout the year. Arts at Play is about honing creativity in a non-competitive environment through multiple platforms and ensuring that a larger section of children living across the city has access to it.”
Sameera Iyengar, co-founder of Junoon, informs, “These workshops are process-oriented and aim to get the children interested in dance, theatre, pottery, etc, so that they explore these arts. If they understand the possibilities of art, they might fall in love with it and stay connected to it over the years. The instructors have been chosen carefully and have undergone workshops as well, to ensure they are suitable to teach children.”
Kapoor adds that for the next two years, Junoon’s focus will remain on training children and young adults. They will stage various plays throughout the year including The Tempest by the Footsbarn Theatre, which is slotted to take place in November-December 2012. The Footsbarn Travelling Theatre is one of the world’s leading touring companies performing adaptations of classics by Shakespeare and Moliere and blending visual theatre, music and magic.
To reach a larger audience, Junoon has introduced an online token system for registration. This will help reduce queues that emerge, annually, on the first day of registrations. They have also ensured a greater virtual connectivity by allowing parents to post their queries on the website.
They even went ahead and hired their volunteers through this medium.
“But at the end of the day, it’s not a substitute for interaction; there are many people who are clueless about the virtual world. So, our aim at Junoon is to create spaces where people can interact, relax and learn different arts,” concludes Kapoor.