Plays for toddlers

Experience a world of colours, shapes, and music at Ranga Shankara’s AHA! Theatre Festival for children

July 24, 2018 03:57 pm | Updated 03:57 pm IST

Since 2006, Ranga Shankara has hosted AHA! Theatre festival for children, which has reached out to close to 140,000 children across the city, according to the theatre. This year, though, is special for AHA! as the festival is entirely dedicated to toddlers, aged one to five. Five plays presented by established theatre companies across India will be staged. Oool, a production by Trams Art Trust, Mumbai, directed by Sananda Mukhopadhyaya, has Cool, the protagonist, take the audience on a fascinating journey of versatile materials, along with music and movement. Paper Fantasy, devised by Bharti and presented by One Plus Educational and Cultural Trust, Delhi, explores the endless possibilities of a seemingly ordinary material: paper. Plasticity, presented by the Tadpole Repertory, New Delhi, and devised and directed by Bikram Ghosh and Kriti Pant, follows two performers who transform materials made of plastic, using rhythm, sound, light and shadow. Wool Symphony, presented by Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust, New Delhi, devised by Asha, Nitu, and Maneesh,which is a fanciful journey of a friend Wool. And Chidiya Udd! by Gillo Repetory, Mumbai, developed and directed by Shaili Sathyu, is a delightful story of friendship between a child and a bird.

Festival director S Surendranath says: “The plays were chosen following a workshop in 2017 by Barbara Koelling from Helios theatre, Germany at Katkatha in New Delhi. I was an observer at the workshop. When I watched these performances, I thought why not host a festival for toddlers. Children between three and five absorb everything around them, so these performances have been created around their world of colours, shapes, and sounds. There will also be shows for schools. I am interested in how they will be watched by the children along with their teachers.”

Samta Shikhar, a theatre actor and practitioner and head of theatre department of Head Start Educational Academy, who has been creating plays for toddlers since 2012, was roped in to be a part of creating the festival. “I wanted to give a festive design keeping toddlers in mind and to keep them engaged. The first play station will be of canvas and crayons, the second is a lego block station, and the third is a tunnel made out of colourful cardboard boxes. There is also a fourth space which is an artist’s interactive installation. Two musicians will perform before the plays.” Workshops, aimed at teachers and parents, will be held along side the performances. “The panellists for the first workshop are Arundhati Nag, founder of Ranga Shankara, Samina Mahmood, who started Head Start Montessori House of Children in 1984, and psychologist Meera Haran Alva, who will look at theatre for toddlers from their perspective. The second workshop is by Ruchira Das, founder of Think Arts in Kolkata, Subhashim Goswami, a sociologist and theatre director for toddler plays, and Arundhati Nag,” informs Samta.

The festival will be held from July 25 to July 29 at Ranga Shankara, JP Nagar. All shows at 11 am, 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm. Tickets on and at the venue.

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