Gone are the days when a child used to be taught by traditional methods such as the teacher writing on the blackboard with chalk. Today teaching is not limited to the four walls of a classroom. Classrooms have become virtual, there is something now known as E-Learning. But it depends who has the access to it, government aided schools and kids of low income parents children do not have the privilege.
Dramebaaz is a theatre festival started for children of government aided schools. It’s a platform for children to showcase their acting skills and bring out their creativity. It aims to build the self-confidence of children and to motivate them to look beyond classroom experiences and explore the world of opportunities waiting for them. It has been started by Teach for India (TFI) fellows Prasanth Nori and Soumya Kavi.
Dramebaaz collaborated with ‘Samhaara’ the oldest theatre group in Hyderabad, founded by Rathna Shekhar Reddy, a National Award winning actor. Besides these, a lot of theatre professionals acted as mentors who visited the schools and looked after their rehearsals twice a month. Also Rathna Shekhar Reddy himself had a small workshop with over 150 students’ across 15 schools in Hyderabad.
Almost 15 schools comprising of 10 students per team participated in the event, held on 13th Dec, at the Oakridge International School [Hyderabad]. Showcasing their acting skills for a 10 minute play, the students performed on trending issues such as ‘Humour and Comedy’, ‘Religious Violence’, ‘Road Accidents’ etc. too name a few. Kids between 3rd grade to 6th grade participated in this event; they tried to bring out their perspective on issues of utter importance. The judges for the event were Mala Pasha, eminent theatre artist, and Ramakrishna Shenoy of the ‘Dramanon’ group.
The children underwent training from August to November and were taught different aspects of theatre.
Dramebaaz has helped to change the perspectives of parents, that studies are not everything and there is more scope and possibilities beyond the classroom teaching. “Parents were overwhelmed that their kids were performing on a grand stage and realised that Education is not limited to black board and chalk,” says Prasanth. Dramebaaz has made parents aware that kids are capable of doing much more than just being kids.
The Best Play Awards went to Government Primary School, Mudfort and M.A.Ideal School, Kishanbagh.
“We plan to take Dramebaaz to seven major cities which include Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Hyderabad in order to convert ideas into legal entities,” says Prasanth.
Both Prasanth and Soumya firmly believe in the idea that education has to move beyond the traditional system of blackboards and benches. Their keen interest is theatre and they feel that it is one of the most powerful medium of expressions for children. It will help them to mould children who are conscientious and compassionate, well rounded individuals.
Prasanth Nori teaches 4th grade at M.A Ideal School. He did his B.E from MSRIT. He has organized some of the biggest theatre, debate and cultural festival in Bangalore including Udbhav, MSRMPD and headed the theatre society in college. He has represented the country at international debate tournaments in China, Bangladesh and Malaysia.
Soumya Kavi teaches 4th grade at Government school, Kulsumpura. She has worked with Amazon and Mu Sigma after graduating from BITS Pilani. She has also worked with the theatre group – ‘Torn Curtains’ and has acted in stage plays in Hyderabad. Her play was runners up for Best Play at ‘SKITS’ 2015.