Ikato Y. Kiho, soon to be Nagaland's first NSD graduate, on his plans to introduce theatre designing to his home State.
Being the “first-ever student from Nagaland” to make it to New Delhi's prestigious National School of Drama, Ikato Y. Kiho, quite understandably, feels a sense of responsibility towards exposing the Naga youth to the nuances of theatre. This third-year student of the NSD, who is currently specialising in Theatre Technique and Designing, recently wrapped up a 15-day workshop focusing on designing in Kohima — the first such workshop for this Northeastern city.
Though in the past, the NSD had organised several theatre production-oriented workshops in other parts of Nagaland (a couple of which Ikato attended that kindled his love for the medium), this was the first-ever theatre designing workshop to be conducted in the State.
Jointly organised by the Nagaland Theatre Fraternity (the first theatre group of Nagaland headed by Ikato), the North East Zone Cultural Centre, Dimapur, and the Art and Culture Department of Kohima, the workshop underscored the significance of set designing, costumes, property-making, lights and make-up.
“Not many Nagas have heard of theatre culture. It is a foreign concept to them. We got to know of it when the NSD organised workshops here. That's the time, I realised what a powerful medium theatre is,” says Ikato, an MBA, who instead of picking up a routine job, followed his heart and joined the NSD.
“The best thing about the NSD is,” he feels, “the amalgamation of different cultures of India. The syllabus is challenging and all of us work in team spirit. The training and experience we get is absolutely first-class. Like for instance, our class recently went to Maharashtra from where we picked up valuable inputs on the Tamasha form of folk culture.”
When he is back in his hometown Dimapur during vacations, Ikato mobilises his theatre group. Apart from staging several productions on the Naga culture and folklore in the local dialects, the Nagaland Theatre Fraternity has also performed plays to spread awareness of the Right to Information Act and environmental and wildlife concerns.
“Our group has 24 members. We have actors from different tribes. It is not difficult to find actors; the area where we lack is designing. We have very limited technical expertise. That's why I chose designing as the theme of my theatre workshop,” he explains.
With neighbours like Assam and Manipur that are “very much ahead” in the theatre culture, Ikato feels that along with generating more funds for budding theatre groups in Nagaland, the State government should be more pro-active in organising workshops at the level of schools and colleges to introduce the students to this mass medium of communication.
“Theatre is unbelievable. There are so many folk stories and culture that we can explore through theatre. Not just that, we can use it to showcase the rich culture and heritage of the Nagas to the rest of the world,” states Ikato.
And now with two more Naga youths joining as his juniors at the NSD, he's assured the trio will be instrumental in ushering in theatre to this Northeastern State in a major way.