Nabamita (1537242): Theatre and the Children’s Voice

Nygren, Christina, ed. Theatre for Development : Experiences from an International Theatre Project in Asia “Children’s Voice”. Svensk Teaterunion/The Swedish Centre of the ITI, 2009. 146-150. Print.

“My Journey with the Children’s Voice project changed my perception of theatre as a whole”.

In this article, Sengupta shares her experience of participating in the Children’s Voice project initiated by Swedish ITI  in 2002. She writes “Here they had a totally different attitude towards children’s theatre. It was not the direct involvement of the child as the actor but rather the adult actor performing for the child” (147).

The activities of the theatre group reminded the writer of the coordinated workings of a community, committed to the same purpose. She recalls her experience as a part of the audience at a particular theatre house called “Tittut”. The observation that she made there was that conversing with the audience or answering to the queries of the children was a part of their theatre process. Sengupta observed the focus given to the response of the audience and its significance in the project of Children’s Voice.

The learning that she took from this project was reflected in her later performances that were results of a more creative, imaginative, tolerant and empathising (not sympathising, as children are conscious of the behaviour meted out to them) self of hers. She realised that when a performance is being staged for a target audience consisting of children the enactment and the use of imagination should be of a higher level “because children cannot be fooled” (149).

According to Sengupta, a theatre person can grow and develop more by playing in front of a child as the artist builds for himself/herself an “initiated and sensitive adult audience”. She concludes her article with the lines “My father often says that you can practice almost all other forms of fine arts all by yourself. Theatre is something that you can never do alone. There  must be another person interacting with you. It is this quality which makes it the  most  powerful tool of social communication” (150).

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