Theatre and Art in Education for Young Women with a Focus on Theatre of the Oppressed Techniques and Embodied Therapeutic Practices
Arundathi Vishwanath | 2023
This project unfolded in Nanahar village in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. The main objectives of this project were to spark critical thought and action amongst the participants of the programme, facilitate a process to reclaim one’s agency, equip the participants with theatre facilitation skills and equip the organisation with a theatre and art in education curriculum. The project timeline was September 2021–October 2022. A pilot workshop was initially conducted with 24 women enrolled in a skill development course, and consequently a longer 16-week workshop series was conducted for a group of 33 women. The methods used in this workshop series were a combination of Theatre of the Oppressed (Forum theatre) and Embodied Therapeutic Practices (Breath-work, Womb Medicine and nature-based art practices). In the course of the workshop series, the group addressed an issue that they were facing with the host organisation related to food intake and worked on personal stories related to the theme of sexual harassment. At the end of the workshop, the group did a public Forum performance of their plays before an audience of 300–350 persons at Taragarh Panchayat Bhavan, inviting interventions and discussions from the audience on the theme in question. A series of videos were produced to disseminate the learnings and practices cultivated during the process. This report takes one through the processes of the project and the insights from cultivating a ground-up perspective, embodying climate action and understanding the nuances of feminist action.