Prasanth Nori and Soumya Kavi founded Dramebazz in 2015 in Hyderabad. It utilizes the art of Theatre to bridge the gap between what children learn in classrooms and the skills required to make practical use of that knowledge in real life. Through theatre, Dramebazz aims to inculcate four life skills in students – Problem-solving, collaboration, confidence and self-esteem. The city head of Dramebazz, Bengaluru, Mr. Rohit Balakrishnan, is an engineering graduate who has more than 15 years of experience in the field of music and thoroughly understands the value of performance on stage and its role in overcoming a lot of fears for the performer. Saumya Kavi and Prasanth Nori have prior experience in theatre too.
Dramebazz works with children from the economically weaker sections of our society and the process of producing the plays depends entirely on the children’s discretion. Since the aim of the initiative is to enable students to articulate their ideas and voice their opinions, the stories are decided by them and they deal with issues which concern them. The process of play production consists of five steps. First, a workshop is held for the fellows of Teach for India where they are trained on how to motivate students to think about and perceive theatre. Secondly, students are encouraged to come up with ideas and are oriented towards theatre.
After completion of the script, it is analysed and then students are made familiar with the plot and characters of the script and through discussions they are made aware of the issues that the script deals with. The theme of the script usually deals with social issues like religious intolerance, violence, alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, environment, pollution and girl education. After this, students rehearse for the event which is reviewed by drama teams from various colleges. Their feedback help teachers and students to improve their plays. It is after such a comprehensive process, that the play goes on the stage for a live performance.
Initially, a curtain raiser is held to create the excitement among students in the anticipation of the performance day and to teach them how to implement the values they had learnt during the programme in their everyday life. On the day of the performance, the organisation ensures that the auditorium is packed with parents and relatives of those participating in order to register the moment of the sense of pride, forever in their minds. Each student is provided with awards, medals, food and transport. Dramebazz held its Bangalore children film festival on 4th December 2016 for which it even organized an online fundraising campaign with Milaap. Twenty-two plays were presented by 290 children from schools in Koramangala, Whitefield and Vijaynagar. A contingent of 75 volunteers was working since August to make the final day a special one.
The impact of the programme is assessed through a rubric wherein students are asked to rate themselves and the changes they feel on a scale of 1-10. This ensures that the students reflect on their learning and are able to map their growth as well. Teachers have observed an increase in responsiveness and class participation amongst the students in the aftermath of the programme. The organisation aims to achieve the target of covering 1 million children under its programme and have them perform on stage. Since they cover mostly slums as of now, they aim to expand to the rural areas too and want to bring out a diverse set of performances and a unified change in the lives of thousands of children.
This article was originally published in The Optimist Citizen – Issue 19 dated 16 FEB ’17. Get exclusive early access to the stories, SUBSCRIBE NOW.
DIKSHA KAKKAR & KRITIKA VIDYARTHI | TOC
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