Children perform at Kala Kunj on September 30
A farmer saves his village from a tiger attack, a magician helps a queen save her dying son, a poor monkey finally realises his dream of performing on stage — these were some of the colourful stories scripted and staged by 120 underprivileged children as part of TreeHat Theatre Productions’ Child’s Play, in association with The Telegraph.
The programme at a packed Kala Kunj on September 30 was the culmination of three-week workshops, where students of five schools were taught English through theatre.
“We had planned a three-week schedule for the kids, but they were so receptive that they needed only two weeks of practice,” said Avishek De, the facilitator at Indira Academy, Elliot Road, whose group put up the first play of the evening — Brave Bhola — about a farmer who saved his village from a tiger.
The children of Saket Public School were next to go on stage with Princess and the Three Princes.
Durga Kumari Show of Jyotirmai Vidya Mandir, Garcha, was very excited to play a rabbit in A Little Bit Of Magic about a cursed queen whose son dies at the age of 16, but is revived with the help of a magician.
“We had a lot of fun during the workshop. We used to play games and take part in group activities. I was very eager to perform on stage,” said the Class V student.
The kids of Ektara, a community prevention centre in Topsia, presented Muskaan, a story of a princess who saves her cursed palace from doom. “Initially, these kids were jittery about speaking in English. But they gained confidence with practice,” said Ronit Deb, the founder-member of Mad About Drama and a facilitator at Ektara.
Stars School had the youngest bunch of kids presenting a musical about a poor monkey named Monku, who loved to dance but whose parents did not have the money to fulfil his dreams. Finally, Monku’s dreams were realised and he got to perform on stage.
“The kids have written the scripts inspired by their own lives. There is a pattern in the plots. The protagonists are usually poor but with big dreams,” said Yash Saraf, the project director of Child’s Play and a facilitator at Stars School along with Abhibroto Roy.
“It was a superb experience to perform in front of so many people. I was not nervous at all,” said an excited Zeeshan Ali, a Class VII student at Indira Academy who played Bhola.
“Child’s Play was a very good medium for the kids to open up. The ones who were introvert and shy are now confident and have developed a positive attitude that they too can achieve something in life. It has also helped improve their English-speaking skills,” said Yasmin Naomi Chung, the founder of Stars School, Tangra.