Published: 23rd November 2019
The Hyderabad Children's Theatre Fest turns 10. Here's why you shouldn't miss it
The fest will offer a diverse range of plays and workshops which will develop a passion for theatre in children and in adults as well
The Hyderabad Children’s Theatre Festival turns ten this year. This was occasion enough to get in touch with Vaishali Bisht the proud Artistic Director and Co-founder of this festival. It's been a decade since the festival has been nurturing the theatre scene for children and indeed, playing an important role in this space. Explaining why it is important to spark an interest in theatre from a young age, Vaishali, who is an actor, playwright, and director herself, says, "If you feed junk food to a child for 21 years and suddenly, offer them an orange, they will certainly not appreciate it. Similarly, from a young age, children need to be exposed to a broad variety of storytelling whether it is theatre, books or any other medium."
While the festival itself starts from December 8, 2019, at Dr MCR HRD Institute of Telangana in Jubilee Hills, the curtain-raiser will be held on November 28 with a play presented by Norway-based Katja Lindeberg Productions called If Only Rosa Could Do Magic. The play is Rosa, a child who has everything she could dream of yet escapes to her dreamworld every chance she gets. From the festival itself, apart from plays performed by Dur Se Brothers Productions, Mumbai; TIE from National School of Drama, New Delhi and several others, expect workshops for kids, teachers, teenagers and even parents!
Vaishali, who also conducts theatre workshops for children, has had many kids run to her and tell her about their favourite parts in plays, "but, of course, that is just anecdotal evidence of the impact that we are making. A firmer example would be that of our plays running house-full even when they are conducted in huge auditoriums like Shilpakala Vedika," she informs. So clearly, they are addressing a need. "It serves as an artistic-cultural alternative exposure for children," she adds. And it is theatres shows like this, started by people who live and know the city well, that goes a long way in enriching the city more, she believes.
Talking about which play to watch, Vaishali, who has an Honours graduate in Drama and Theatre Studies from the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, laughs and says in a lighter vein, "I think you should catch them all!" And goes on to recommend that if one likes spectacle, they can go for Across The Sea by Theatre In Education Company of the National School of Drama. If you are looking for spectacle plus effective words, opt for Elephant in the Room by Dur Se Brothers Productions or opt for Nal Jal, Swangvale Productions, Balaghat. Do note that Nal Jal is a play that is exclusively for kids who are four-year-old or below and talks about water conservation. So, indeed, there will be something for everyone at this festival.