Power of street theatre to the fore

Staff Reporter
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Platinum jubilee of professional social work marked by MSSW

Potential medium: MSSW students at a workshop on street play in Chennai on Saturday. — Photo: M. Vedhan
Potential medium: MSSW students at a workshop on street play in Chennai on Saturday. — Photo: M. Vedhan

Kasu, kasu, kasu ,” the soft chant soon rose in tempo as students with half their faces painted took over the stage. While one donned the role of a statue on the Marina Beach, the others played out different scenarios in which the persons seeking services ended up paying a bribe. Whether to get a medical seat or a transfer to a preferred location, the innumerable ways in corruption drives day-to-day dealings was effectively highlighted by the group.

Following this was a show by talking puppets to enlighten the audience about the importance of social workers in today's world. Using humorous dialogues, scriptwriter Santhanakrishnan and K.Anusha who gave the voice for ‘Rosy Papa', the main character, talked about ‘Super Hero Social Workers' and their contributions to the society.

The performances, in honour of social workers, were part of a programme held at Madras School of Social Work on Saturday to mark the platinum jubilee of professional social work in India. Inaugurating the function, C.K. Saraswathi, chairperson, Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board, said: “Efforts have to be made to spread social messages. Students should dedicate at least an hour each day for social work.”

Micheal Veda Sironmani, Director, Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, said social work should be a mandate for all humans for the problems faced today and should be looked at in the human rights context.

To prove that street theatre is one of the most powerful mediums to educate communities, MSSW had organised ‘Arangam '11', a State-level street play workshop and competition on the theme Youth of India-Arise, as part of the programme.

The government has used street theatre to spread health-related messages, said S. Raja Samuel, assistant professor and coordinator of the event.

“The students of MSSW have performed in public places around the city to throw light on issues such as safety of women in public transport, public toilets and the environment,” he added.

While the judges were looking for issues that directly affected the youth and messages that are laced with humour, students were a step higher.

“We are looking at how the concept of a leader has evolved over the years and how it will evolve such that the youth will take up governance,” said M. Badrinarayanan, a student of Sri Sankara Arts and Science College in Kancheepuram.

Congratulating all social work practitioners across the country, Fatima Vasanth, principal-cum-secretary, MSSW, said that just like every other professional course, social work also needs accreditation.




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