The many stages of development

Poorna Kulkarni
Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Prerana — Ek Kalamanch uses theatre for personality develpment. We catch up with them to know more about their ongoing theatre fest

Besides entertainment, theatre aids in personality development. It significantly helps in building confidence, self esteem while also stimulating participants’ creativity and thought processes. When it comes to children, theatre is useful in helping them shed stage fear and build communication skills. Prerana — Ek Kalamanch, a theatre organisation, has been working around the similar concept of personality development through theatre activities. To mark its 12th anniversary, it has come up with a festival called ‘Preranayan’ which is underway at Bharat Natya Mandir. 

Says Swati Upadhye, director of Prerana theatre group, “We have been working towards personality development of students through theatre for over a decade now. Every student who comes to our workshop need not necessarily end up being an artist but whichever field they choose, they will surely make a distinct place for themselves with the self confidence they have developed through theatre activities.”

It is very important for kids to act with self confidence in this competitive world — it will help them in strengthening their leadership skills, feels Upadhye. “Theatre will enable them to contribute in their self growth and also to society. So it is very important to inculcate theatre activities since the beginning,” she adds.

The Festival 
In the last 12 years, the plays in this theatre group have mainly focussed on areas like human values, social issues, environment awareness and on Marathi language and literature. Speaking about the ongoing theatre festival, Upadhye says, “In this fest, there are plays on various topics. We are presenting the gist of top 12 plays from our 45 theatre productions that we have come up with in the last 12 years.” 

Some of the plays for the fest were written and directed by Upadhye. The festival involves students of different age groups. “We have students from different age groups as every play is different. We have audiences of varied interests as well and we want to cater to all types of interests,” she says.

There will be two shows held each day except the opening and closing day during the fest which started on June 9 with an experimental theatre performance based on the concept of Smart City. It will close with, Pu La Ajoba play on the last day — June 15. Says Upadhye, “We have included a one act play on scientist Marie Curie, a few plays on topics like literature and lyrics and environment issues. A bal natya (children’s play) based on the works of Pu La Deshpande titled Pu La Ajoba, will showcase the kind of person Pu La was. We also have two comic plays like Khelimeli and Hello Hello. The latter is Dilip Prabhavalkar’s famous comedy.” 

According to her, one of the prominent factors of Preranayan is the Team of Prerana which is actively supported by many well-wishers and experts from different fields. “Preranayan is a reflection of what all we have achieved through the journey of 12 years. While setting up Prerana initially, we received immense support and help from people and the students. Preranayan is a form of giving back to them.” 

Growing with the theatre
Theatre culture grows when the students grow and contribute to it along the way. Mrugaja Karandikar, an architect, says that being a part of the theatre group and learning drama since an early age has helped her to imbibe core values. She says, “I have been associated with Prerana since its inception and ever since I have been growing with the group. It has been long journey and this theatre group is like a close knit family. Learning the basics of drama and that of personality development has helped me in developing the core values like how we can contribute to the environment and so on. We learnt to showcase all these values through drama.” She is a part of plays like Khelimeli, Hello Hello and Missing. 

Amogh Vaidya, who is pursuing MA in Sanskrit, has also been a Prerana member since he was in Std VII. He says, “I am from Dhule and when I came to Pune, it took time for me to speak to people. When I joined Prerana, it helped me in terms of personality development. This year, the plays that are being showcased, are easily relatable to people.”

Another student Apurva Kulkarni, who recently passed out from HSC, has been associated with the group since eight years. Says he, “I have learnt a lot from this theatre group. Through theatre, we tend to shed inhibitions and socialise more with varied age groups. The level of creativity too gets enhanced. I have learnt the importance of team work and synergies after I started working with Prerana. Hence I enjoy theatre. This year, I am a part of different plays like Pacha Uttaranchi Kahani and Khelimeli.” 

ST Reader Service 
‘Preranayan’ theatre festival, by Prerana - Ek Kalamancha, is on till June 15 at Bharat Natya Mandir, Sadashiv Peth, Police Chowk lane, Perugate from 7 pm onwards. The festival is chargeable

Related News