Eclectic and engaging: this children’s theatre festival promises more than just going online
From puppetry and non-verbal performances to devised acts and recorded pieces, ‘ThinkArts International Festival For Young Audiences 2021’ brings global theatre to your screen
By Reema Gowalla
Who wouldn’t be fascinated by the stories of mushrooms and beetles, the magical moon and a geeky robot! These and more are the stars of ThinkArts International Festival For Young Audiences’ 2021 lineup, as they go beyond the drill of the digital to engage youngsters and adults in a series of mentally stimulating performances.
“Going online was not a conscious decision. Like the 2019 chapter, we wanted to conduct a live festival. But then the pandemic happened. In the past year, children and young adults have been exposed to a plethora of digital activities. However, a closer look at these will point toward a gap in terms of meaningful, holistic and engaging interactions that rise above the regulars. Through this fest, we are trying to fill that void,” says Ruchira Das, arts leader and Founder-Director of ThinkArts.
According to Ruchira, curating the fest remotely has been an exhilarating experience. “We have collaborated with global theatre groups; picked shows that are unique in their approach and treatment of showcasing art forms; and are even staging four pieces supported by the ThinkArts Grant. From puppetry and non-verbal performances to devised acts and recorded pieces — this online festival is eclectic in a lot of ways,” she adds.
Starting tomorrow, there is no dull moment at the online edition of this biennial festival illustrating a kaleidoscopic range of shows by Slingsby from Australia; Papermoon Puppet Theatre from Indonesia; HELIOS Theater from Germany; Chamar Bell Clochette from Switzerland; and Akriti Singh, Tandra Kundu, Swangvale, Rasa Theatre Collective, Varun Narain and Kinnara Mela from India unfurling in a span of 10 days. There will be two new shows every day from November 14 to 24, with each show running for a week.
“The idea is to reach out to a wider set of audiences in different age groups. There is no deliberate attempt to make an impression on the minds of young people via themed acts. Instead, those watching the performances are encouraged to derive their own meanings, and thus think independently and with clarity. We don’t want this to be a passive experience for anyone. Shows will be interactive and mimic in-person activities as much as possible. We even ask audience members to turn off their mobile phones as they log in to watch performances on their computer screens,” she sums up.
The pieces are ‘Omar and the Underworld’, ‘Circles’, ‘Somari Volya’, ‘Robot’, ‘Gajam’, ‘Mati’, ‘Moon’s Magic’, ‘The Young King’, ‘Monsters and Dragon’ and ‘A Bucket of Beetles’.
You can book your tickets on a pay-as-you-wish basis and watch each show as a video-on-demand for a week.