Published: 05th October 2017
Honk Honk! Mumbai theatre group Gillo is getting on a minibus and going across rural Karnataka to take theatre to kids directly
The group does not believe in a stage show but it does believe in performing anywhere they can halt and that could be your school, library or your home
In just another month it will be November. Nestled between summer and winter, it definitely is a month that everyone will love. But for the people of Karnataka, the weather isn’t the only thing one will fall in love with, especially if you're a child in Bengaluru, Mysuru, HD Kote, Chamarajanagar or Shivamogga. If you hear the honk of a minibus somewhere near your school, playground or local library, do not hesitate to run out. Chances are that the members of the theatre group, Gillo, will emerge from it and perform a few plays that you'd love.
A Mumbai-based theatre group, Gillo is set to tour these five lucky districts of Karnataka from November 1 to 15 and perform at a few unconventional venues that will include courtyards, playgrounds, terraces or even under a tree, where around 200 children can gather and witness the fun. The group’s primary audience is school children. "Our long-term vision is to take theatre to as many children as possible, living in different backgrounds. This is a small start in that direction," says Shaili Sathyu, who is the Artistic Director of Gillo.
Through the tour, we want our own team to have a different experience, meet new people and see different parts of the country
Shaili Sathyu, Artistic Director, Gillo
As a team, Gillo would visit Bengaluru, Pune and Kolkata every year for a week each. But this district tour is a first-of-its-kind initiative by the group. "Now, we want to have a stronger impact with our work, so, we started drawing a circuit with our work. We're planning to perform in a mix of rural and urban locations. We will primarily be visiting towns with smaller populations. Even though we're visiting Bengaluru, we are covering only the non-metro areas," explains Shaili, adding that the original plan was to embark on a month-long trip to five different states, but financial constraints restricted it to these five districts of Karnataka.
Drama upbeat: A Mumbai-based theatre group, Gillo is set to tour these five lucky districts of Karnataka from November 1 to 15 and perform at a few unconventional venues
Of the three plays they are set to perform, one is based on Anushka Ravishankar's book, Catch the Crocodile, which will be in English, and the second one is based on Devdutt Pattanaik's Hanuman's Ramayana, in Hindi. The unnamed third play will be non-verbal. "The plays are usually in a simple format. Only a few words are spoken, so, we don't think there will be a language constraint for the children," says Shaili.
Gillo is a Mumbai-based organisation working exclusively for children and young people, with the aim of making childhood fun, yet enriching and memorable. They also aim at organising meet-ups for the team members to meet local artists
The team of professional theatre artists is excited as there is just a month left for their efforts to yield its fruit. They've been preparing for this since September last year. "We've been contacting people in these areas who own places where these plays can be staged. Almost all of them have responded positively. We won't be charging for the performances. We just want to gather the children. We only said that we're coming and that we need a place to perform, food and an audience. It's an old-fashioned, no money exchange programme," she says.
But right now, money is the major issue that the group faces. They need funds to travel from Mumbai to Bengaluru and then hire a minibus to move around Karnataka. But that won’t stop these enthusiasts. "We have a major financial crisis. But still, we'll go," Shaili says firmly.