Published: 28th February 2019
This Mumbaikar uses improv to help children improve verbal and non-verbal skills
Preeti Shetty was a National Training Manager at All For Kids, a Mumbai-based initiative that works on the speech, drama and elocution skills of children
What can teaching kids improv do for them? Push them out of their comfort zones, open them up and bring out their hidden talents? Sure, but if you ask Preeti Shetty, she might be able to draw up a longer list of benefits. After all, she was a National Training Manager at All For Kids, a Mumbai-based initiative that works on the speech, drama and elocution skills of children. She moved to Hyderabad about eight months ago in the quest to pursue her passion — baking. Along with Heena, a friend, she started Peach Artistry and her jars, blondies and brownies are so famous that even Gully Boy Ranveer Singh is a fan, especially of their Nutella Cheesecake Jars. But we are digressing. Apart from indulging our sweet tooth, Shetty also conductsimprov workshops for kids. And if you want to sign up for one of her sessions, there is one coming up on March 24, her third session in association with the well-known storytellers Tale Tellers Troupe. But why should you sign up for her sessions? We will let Preeti Shetty answer that.
Pumped up: Participants during the improv workshop | (Pic: Preeti Shetty)
"The session is not just about improv, it's a combination of things which are aimed at enhancing verbal and non-verbal skills of children," says the 32-year-old. There are several activities graciously woven into the agenda of the session, which will go on for about three hours. Young participants will be given impromptu situations as well, for which children will have to call upon the actor within themselves and enact as per the situation given to them. For example, suppose they are singing a nursery rhyme and suddenly, it starts raining like cats and dogs, how will they continue singing? "It gives children a different thrill and really keeps them on their feet," says the Mumbaikar. In fact, Shetty ensures that she is improvising too, understanding the vibe of the participants and conducting activities as per the demand and requirement. For the upcoming session, she plans to introduce new activities. Like introducing snippets of existing stories and encouraging children to come up with an ending of their own for the said story. And because the focus is on verbal and non-verbal communication, she might even introduce written communication, "where writing is also a part of the expression," in her future sessions. Who knows? Improvisation is the key.
Coming up: Preeti is also part of the organising team of ISF 2019 (International Storytelling Festival) which aims at bringing storytellers from 25 plus nations and also various storytelling art forms of Telangana, all on one stage, at Ravindra Bharathi on the April 13 and 14, 2019 | (Pic: Preeti Shetty)
Other activities include group improv, role-play activities and a lot of other fun stuff which surely will be worth spending your Sunday morning on. Shetty encourages all parents to give children their time to grow before they nudge shy introverts to being more open and criticise extroverts for being energiser bunnies. So, with the help of this workshop, let kids just be!
Two activities one can expect:
- A small individual activity wherein kids will be asked to produce sounds of various animals
- Use one sentence and emote it in various ways