How Aagaaz is using theatre as an instrument of social change in Delhi’s slums — By Hema Vaishnavi on Your Story com

Using theatre as a medium, this young artist from Delhi is creating inclusive spaces for learning, critical thought, and dialogue among underprivileged children. Sanyukta Saha has been teaching theatre to the kids of Nizamuddin basti for the past eight years.

Theatre arts, which is often thought of as a privileged affair is now being brought to underprivileged kids in fringe settlements of Delhi/ NCR. It is being used not just as a method to provoke responses and critical thought but as a language that initiates a positive change in their lives. The team at Aagaaz Theatre Trust is using applied theatre as a medium to bring about a change in the lives of children.

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Aagaaz offered its first Theatre Workshop at Deepalaya’s Community Library in Shekh Sarai and 4 of our core group members from Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti co-facilitated a workshop for other children.

Toys made from trash, books read aloud in front of an audience, children deciding the agenda of the workshop, are some unconventional methods used here.

The core group has been put on a three-year intensive theatre programme with well-known theatre artists in order to give them a deeper understanding of the field. Each child also has a mentor, under the ‘MentorOne’ programme of the organisation. The aim is to have at least one person in their life whom they can approach and share anything with. The mentor is allotted on the basis of the interest of the child and come from varying fields like research, finance, music etc.

Applied Theatre

“We initially decided to develop a theatre in education repertory, where actors would be playing the role of both performers and educators. However, in the last couple of years, the nature of our work has changed. It’s no longer just about theatre and education, but is really becoming a space for learning, critical dialogue and thought, all of them anchored at some level to the arts,” says Sanyukta.

The core group is primarily involved in theatre production, and the plays are staged at schools, public spaces, colleges, and festivals.

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