Back in November 2013 a colleague of mine wanted to discuss working in a deprived area of India to run workshops with street kids. I suggested that we do a trial run of a day (he had a 3 day event in mind) of workshops to see what is wanted and what how the language barrier is (as the majority of the people that live in Dharavi, the slum near to my school) speak Hindi and Marathi. Then I had a great idea: why am I doing this on my own, why not give my IB Theatre students the opportunity to do their IPPs with me that day? We had planned on workshops and devising, so they could do Options A and B both on the same day! This blog will document the process for those of you that want to copy this.
Once the idea was hatched I went into Dharavi to meet with one of the NGOs there, Reality Gives, to see if there was interest in us running Drama workshops. It turned out that there was a large group of teenagers and young adults doing a conversational English class, and immersion in some Drama activities would be wonderful practice for their speaking. Before we knew it 38 young people had signed up to participate.
Three of my IB students wanted to be involved in the project, so one of them decided to start planning in workshop. I was going to run the group warm-up and then my colleague would work on character development while I worked on image theatre and story-telling techniques. My student then decided that his IPP would focus on Alexander technique, to add another layer to the acting skills. In the mean time my other two students started thinking about stimuli for the devised work. They thought about poems by Berkoff, issues in Mumbai, and then decided that they did not know what the level of English would be, so images would be an accessible stimulus. The chose contemporary photos and images from life across India, ranging from festivals to professions to daily family life.
Below is the schedule of the day.
9-9.15am Full group warm-up
9.15-9.45 Workshops on Character and Alexander Technique
9.45-11.00 Workshops on Image and Physical Theatre
12-1.30pm Devising work
1.30-2pm Run performances in the space
2-2.30pm Break and set up
If you are interested in working with Reality Gives then contact:
If you want ideas of projects you can do internationally with groups of young people, across cultures, then I strongly recommend the book:
‘Young People, New Theatre: A Practical Guide to an Intercultural Process’, by Noel Grieg, Routledge, 2008.