Take a theatrical trip

Get on the driving seat for a look into the daily lives of BMTC drivers and conductors.

Updated - September 28, 2015 08:43 pm IST

Published - September 28, 2015 04:33 pm IST - Bengaluru

From performances in alternate spaces to quizzes being held under flyovers, Bengaluru art organisations, such as India Foundation of the Arts, Sandbox Collective and Jaaga, Institutes such as Srishti School of Art Design and Technology to independent artistes such as Jeevan Xavier and citizen initiatives such as The Ugly Indian and Youth for Parivarthan, have taken art and performances out of the confines of galleries and auditoriums to public spaces and the common people. Continuing this trend of youthful art initiatives is Head Start Educational Academy.

The performance site, this time, is a BMTC bus. The performers are children from grades six and seven of HeadStart. And the stories that will be portrayed are that of BMTC bus drivers and conductors. Samta Shikhar, who is one of the facilitators, with Ashwini Kumar Chakre, speaks of the genesis of the idea. “At Head Start, theatre with children is not to teach them acting. It is about re-looking at and re-thinking about the world around them. Buses are common to their everyday lives. I wanted them to look at the lives of the bus drivers and conductors from their perspective,” says Samta.

Research was the fulcrum of the performance. “I wouldn't want to call it just a play. The children came up with very interesting questions,” says Samta.

She adds they received support from BMTC. “Ekroop Caur, Managing Director of BMTC, drivers and conductors, BMTC employees and staff and the Shanti Nagar bus depot were very supportive. The students were taken to BMTC offices for them to understand how the system works. They learnt how the buses are maintained, how the tickets are printed.” Among the many important issues that came up was that of interruptions. “During their journey from one location to another there are many interruptions, which come from within the bus, from the people, and outside the bus.”

Riad Mahmood, founder and managing trustee of Head Start, says the reason for the performance came from the questions by the faculty. “How do we involve transportation into education? It was important for us to partner with drivers and conductors, since they are the first educators and spend a lot of time with the children. It also helps address diversity in education. Parents asked why BMTC buses, why not private buses? But we consciously decided to use BMTC. First, private buses do not help in reducing traffic. At Head Start we believe in being sensitive to the environment around. The performance is almost semi-professional but has been done with meaning.” Many things the students learned about the drivers and conductors surprised them, such as they need certain qualifications to be a driver and conductor and the difficulties in the profession.

The performance will be held on October 10 and 11, 6.15 p.m, at the crossing of the Cubbon Park, between the Band Stand and Venkatappa Art Gallery. Seating is first come first served basis.

For information call 9980799613. Children of six years and above are allowed.

Some questions asked to drivers and conductors

Which parts of the city do you like to drive in and which part you don’t and why?

What kind of interruptions do you face on the roads of the city? What interruptions do you face again and again?

Bus woes


Change badalavane illa!

Cows crossing the road

Too many bikers!

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