Theatre can transform lives, says Devendranath Sankaranarayanan


Theatre improves people’s performance in life, says theatre practitioner Devendranath Sankaranarayanan

“I help people improve their performance in real life,” says Devendranath Sankaranarayanan aka Devan who believes in the power of theatre to transform the lives of people.

Theatre can transform lives, says Devendranath Sankaranarayanan

Devan has been conducting sessions of the Performance Training Workshop at Mamangam Dance Studio at Kaloor in Kochi. The workshop offered one of his specially designed training programmes that focuses on applying performance in everyday life.

An initiative of Mamangam and Inside Out Performance Collective, which was initiated by Devan, with the support of some like-minded friends, the sessions also train voice, mind and body, improvisation and Psycho-Physical performances.

A researcher and practitioner in the areas of performance training, directing, dramaturgy, producing and marketing, Devan was drawn to theatre from childhood. and started acting from the age of four years.

Hailing from Wayanad, Devan graduated in Physics, from Pazhassi Raja College, Mattannur, and joined the Calicut University School of Drama where Dr. Vayala Vasudevan Pillai, a veteran theatre personality he held in awe, was the director. He did his Masters from University of Hyderabad.

Later, he got the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship of the European Union to do an MA in International Performance Research from University of Warwick in UK and University of Amsterdam in Netherlands in collaboration with the University of Helsinki / Tampere in Finland. “It was a great exposure,” he says. “I was able to travel in 22 countries with that scholarship.”

Armed with the valuable training he had received under all these great names —Philip Zarrilly, Prof. Baz Kershaw, Saskia Kersenboom, Prof. Janelle Reinelt, David Zinder, Mark Fleishman, S. Ramanujam, Ramgopal Bajaj and Abhilash Pillai.— Devan set out working in India. “I’m a glocal person,” he declares. “Glocal incorporates both global and local. I believe that what we produce locally can be put on par with anything global.”

Theatre can transform lives, says Devendranath Sankaranarayanan

And that is how he is able to incorporate the international performance research that he has conducted into his working with the tribal children of Nilambur and Wayanad, or while working as a Key Resource Person for the Teacher Transformation Programme for Higher Secondary School Teachers of Kerala in collaboration with the Higher Education Department of Kerala. He is also a Course Facilitator for Tribal Education Project of Kudumbasree Mission in Malappuram district. Besides these activities, Devan spends his time as Course Director, Basic Acting for Children under the project Skilling India in Film and Television (SKIFT), conducted by the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune which involves travelling to various parts of the country conducting workshops.

“After returning from Europe, I spoke to many people, trying to find a platform for implementing my ideas, but was flatly refused. It took seven years for my project to be accepted. We can’t force anything that doesn’t happen naturally, organically. And, basically, I have a farmer’s mind which is ready to wait for the natural growth.”

Devan’s next project with Mamangam involves working with the elderly. “There is no space for old people in Kerala. They are treated as babysitters or caretakers for grown up children. This project aims to give the elderly people some space to open up themselves through theatre,” he explains.

In between all this, Devan also finds time to act, both in films and TV soaps, even bagging a title ‘Best Actor in Negative Role,’ for his villain role in a popular TV serial.

“I may not be a performance maker, I don’t make theatre. But I make people to watch theatre ! People who can enjoy theatre, art, music...”

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 4:37:38 AM |

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