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South Mumbai kids have a new summer hangout

south mumbai, summer activity, ncpa, workshops, dance, Theatre

Mumbai kids have yet another annual event to add to their busy summer activity calendar. The National Centre for the Performing Arts is kick-starting the second edition of Summer Fiesta, their month-long festival which brings together 23 workshops, five plays and four films for children.

Kids can participate in a range of workshops in theatre, dance and music that explores the literary works of William Shakespeare and Shel Silverstein, introduces children to the basics of dance forms such as jazz dance and kathak and also acquaints them with genres such as comedy, horror and tragedy in theatre. The NCPA is also partnering with the WorldKids Foundation to screen films such as The Wanderer, Riddle in a Bottle, Jane and the Dragon: Dragon’s Tail and Winky’s Horse.

Deepa Gahlot, who heads the theatre and film departments at the NCPA, said that the fiesta is an effort to get children interested in arts and culture. “Over a period of time, parents are realising that children need to do things beyond academics,” she said. “Summer Fiesta is a good way for children to be exposed to theatre, dance and music. It’s fun but not competitive. It’s a space where parents can come and leave their children for a few hours and the kids can meet others of their age.”

Amrita Lahiri, the head of dance programming at the NCPA, is curating the dance workshops, which focus on four different dance forms – bharatanatyam, mohiniattam, jazz and kathak. “You clearly can’t learn dance in five days,” said Lahiri. “But the workshops will kindle an interest in the children at least.” The workshops will culminate in a performance by the participants.

While the dance and film activities are being curated by the NCPA, Theatre Professionals and Poor Box Productions are offering theatre workshops. “We have got workshops through the day, so kids can come right from morning, spend the whole day here and also see plays or attend film screenings,” said Jehan Manekshaw, the co-founder of Theatre Professionals, a group that teaches drama in schools. “What we are offering is a team of instructors who can go in and take a particular subject and break it down so the kids can understand it. The workshops are more about having fun and sneaking in the learning.”

For instance, actor Shaun Williams is conducting “Acting Shmacting with Shaun Sir”, a workshop where kids will go through the elements of performance and scene work. Williams will get the kids to enact a scene using different styles. “The kids will take a scene and do it melodramatically or as a horror story or a farce,” said Manekshaw. He added that while the children would have fun in the rehearsal room, at the end of the module, they would have understood what it takes to be an actor and be able to choose from a range of performance styles.

By Bijal Vachharajani on April 29 2011

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