Grant Period: Over two months
The New Performance programme supported conferences and seminars to encourage discussions around reflective performance practices in India. This grant provided partial support to the Regional Resource Centre for Elementary Education (RRCEE), University of Delhi and the Association Internationale du Théâtre de l’Enfance et la Jeunesse (ASSITEJ) to hold a three-day national conference titled Theatre for Young Audiences: Concept, Need and Possibilities. Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) is a practice wherein adults create performances for the young. ASSITEJ-India is a network of TYA artists and groups spread across the country, focusing on creating a conducive environment for artists to share their work with one another. Considering the strong connection between TYA practices and pedagogic activities, ASSITEJ-India decided to collaborate with RRCEE, whose focus revolves around creating spaces and mechanisms for the best pedagogic practices using the University-School Resource Network (USRN) comprising of institutions concerned with school education.
The three-day conference centred on a different theme each day. The first day addressed the social and cultural conditions that have influenced the practices of TYA in different contexts in India. Attention was given to investigating how TYA is produced and received compared to other performance practices. The second day brought together educationists, teachers and performing artists to discuss their respective roles in shaping TYA. The third day of the conference gave critical attention to existing practices in playwriting for the young. Choreographers, dancers and puppeteers also participated in the discussion. The conference facilitated discussions and interaction through Paper Presentations, Workshops and Talking Circles. Two parallel Paper Presentation sessions provided the theoretical framework for the theme of the day. This was followed by two parallel participatory workshops wherein the performing artists and groups shared their experiments in performing for the young.
The conference held at the India International Centre (IIC) from August 4 to 6, 2011, was intended for stakeholders of TYA in different linguistic and genre contexts, focusing on strengthening existing TYA networks, and aimed to outline possible actions that might help stakeholders strengthen TYA’s impact on the contemporary performing arts in India. The conference was co-supported by the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi; National Book Trust, India; National School of Drama, New Delhi; Ministry of Culture, Government of India; India International Centre, New Delhi; UNESCO, India; and Rangashala.com.