Aruna, a member of the Veerabhadra community and a NINASAM trained graduate is an active theatre practitioner from Channagiri. He has been conducting several theatre workshops for children during the summer and Dusserah breaks at schools. His most recent training at NSD Bangalore has opened new ways for him to engage in the field of Theatre in Education.
His project will connect 51 students from fifth, sixth and seventh grade of the Government Model Higher Primary School, Goppenahalli, Davanagere District, in a process of exploring a text from the school syllabus by interpreting it through local art forms, particularly the Veeragase, that is rapidly fading from the cultural life of Karnataka. He will explore multiple possibilities of creating performance pieces with the students. Veeragase is the name of the garment worn by a soldier when he is at war. This ritualistic art form is performed by people from the Veerashaiva community. The artists dance to the tunes of karadi vadya during the procession and recite the Veerabhadrana Vadapu. Veeragase performances have also included the exploits of the saints of the 12th century in addition to those of the strong Veerabhadra.
What is interesting about this project is Aruna’s approach towards this exercise. Rather than using the arts as a tool to reinforce the authority of the text, the project aims to engage the poly-vocal form of the Veeragase to open out the text to multiple meanings and valences. This exchange between text and performance eases a practice of mutual redefinition, while enabling students to explore learning through a creative process. The project also endeavors to open the children’s minds to the contemporary possibilities of traditional folk forms, through workshops by theatre practitioners and scholars.
The outcomes will be an exhibition and a performance. The Grantee’s deliverables to IFA with the Final Report will be audio-visual documentation of the workshops, images, and a ten to twelve minute video document of the entire project.
This grant was made possible with support from Citi India.