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About The Experimental Theatre Foundation (ETF)

The Experimental Theatre Foundation
17 years of Theatre of Relevance
(1992-2009)
 
FLINDERS UNIVERSITY ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA,
Commissioned a research under the following title
“ An Examination of the Cultural Practices that Impact (Re) Construction of Diasporic Identities: An Ethnographic study of Experimental Theatre Foundation
 
The Experimental Theatre Foundation has completed 17 years of Theatre of Relevance (1992-2009). ETF was founded in 1992 by Manjul Bhardwaj and like-minded people to practice the philosophy “Theatre of Relevance”.
 
ETF since 1992 has been acting as a laboratory of theatre experiments (in contents, form, stage, presentation, technique, set, costume, make up & all aspects of theatre in relation with the experiments in society, i.e. political, economic, social, cultural & religious) & implementing each and every aspect of “Theatre of Relevance”.
 
 ETF has evolved herself as a centre of theatre movement without sticking into a trap of huge infrastructure & financial assets. ETF is a people’s organisation of theatre that caters their challenges of day-to-day life (communal riots, child labour, economic reforms & globalization, female feotus, domestic violence, violence on women, unemployment, education, HIV, basic human rights, natural calamity like earthquake & Tsunami) through theatrical performances & processes.
 
The passionate young, adult & child performers living in different parts of India are the reliable resource of ETF. These performers have immensely contributed in terms of performance, dedication and commitment to build this organisation. They did not let down the organisation even in financial crisis (Though they themselves are hand to mouth). Salute to all the dedicated performers of ETF!
 

The organisation is an inspiration, motivation, hope & dream house for countless people who want to evolve as better human being to make the world more “ Better & Humane”.

 
 
Ponder upon the following:
 
·       Performed more than 28 plays on more than 15,000 times nationally and internationally.
·       Conducted more than 208 theatre workshops all over India and Germany in which more than 10,000 potential theatre performers participated.
·       Initiated a novel concept of theatre workshop “ A career in Theatre”.
·       Explored theatre as a process to understand self, group and society.
·       Initiated a concept of Bal Natya Utsav by the children for the children and successfully completed 5 years. The event has been organised nationally. More than 1250 children performed 41 plays. The performances are held in Prithvi Theatre, Bal Bhavan, Karnatak Sangha and other esteemed Venues.
·       Initiated performances by the sufferer i.e. facilitated the exploited to express themselves.
·       Initiated play reading & Initiated staging of story.
·       Rehabilitated 1500 children from labour to formal school directly and facilitating educational process of more than 10,000 children indirectly.
·       Proved the thought “ Theatre as a medium of social change”.
·       Initiated theatrical intervention with groups working for social development and influenced them to use theatre as a strategy for change.
·       Evolved and practiced the philosophy “ Theatre of Relevance”. A theatre forum was organised in Hannover, Germany: Titled: “ Theatre of Relevance” from 22.05 –25.05.2003 organised by BAG Spiel & Theater and Buro fur Kultur und Medien Projekte.
·       Conducted a series of workshop for Senior Deputy General Managers on Strategic management through theatre. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., -BHEL, & Central Bank of India , BPCL & THDC, Tehri.
·       Evolved a special module of theatre on “Role of Theatre in HR” for EMPI -Business School, New Delhi.
·       Evolved a special module & conducted a series of theatre workshops for the Earthquake & Tsunami affected children.
·       “ Theatre of Relevance” in Theatre Academics

A special module on “ Theatre of Relevance” - Understanding, fundamentals, principles, concepts and processes of “ Theatre of Relevance” for Department of Dramatics of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra

 

SYNOPSIS OF SOME OF THE PLAYS STAGED BY ETF
 
DOOR SE KISINE AWAAZ DI:
Written after the Bombay riots of 1992-1993, this play is a plea for communal, as well as a scathing indictment of a system where opportunists manipulate religious sentiments for political ends. Eventually it is common man who becomes helpless pawn in the unscrupulous machinations of power of politics. This play has been performed successfully more than 1000 times on stage as well as on street.
 
DEKHA – DEKHI:
This play is a satire on consumerism i.e. how the media creates need, which are never being fulfilled.
 
AADAMI JO MACCHURA NAHIN THA:
The play is about a story of a fisherman & the Queen Fish. The Queen Fish blesses the fisherman with Five wishes in response to save HER life.
 
DWANDWA:
The Indian woman is either venerated, as a goddess or else pitied as a long –suffering victim figure. Despite the undeniable advent of more progressive attitudes towards gender roles in recent times, the oppression of women persists in subtle and not so- subtle ways. This play explores the issue of domestic violence the way in which the woman at home often finds herself in a far vulnerable position than in a hostile external world. This play has been performed more than 500 times on stage and street.
 
MERA BACHPAN:
This play explores the issue of child abuse (Labour) and exploitation in its varied manifestations. The play has been performed more than 12,000 times, on street & stage, in different Indian languages all India and Germany. The shows are running till date.
 
ANDHON KA HAATHI:
A political satire. A perception of elephant by five blind men.
 
NAPUNSAK:
A socio – political satire through the life of eunuch.
 
MAIN AURAT HOON:
Is an exploration of " Who am I"----------- a plunge into the tide of time across the land to " Womanhood -- the anguish & power, the strength & vulnerability of womanhood."
 
VIDYA DADATI VINAYAM:
The play is about denial to access of education.
 
B –7:
The play B-7 depicts the story of 7 birds that are facing a threat for their survival. The birds decide to form a fact-finding committee to list out the threats to their survival. This way they enter in the human world and expose the reality of today’s world. How the children are being deprived from their childhood and how the globalization “Who are you to decide about us” is affecting the children in the world. In the end the birds committee suggest the world to save childhood and humanity. This was premiered in Germany. It is being performed in English, Hindi & German.
 
DHUNDH:
(Mist) is a play that explores the delicate and complex theme of child sexual abuse. It juxtaposes the world of vulnerable and innocent childhood with the world of predatory adulthood – two worlds that co-exist within the intimate framework of the family. How can we create a world of sensitive human beings capable of nurturing & protecting millions of defenseless children? At the close, the play invites the viewer to get involved, since no one in the drama of the real world can remain a mute spectator.
 
LAADLI:
A voice of countless unborn girl children...
 
REDLIGHT:
Unfolds the sufferings, sorrows, pain, anguish, anger & exploitation of the victims of human trafficking.
 
VISHWA - THE WORLD:
The play " Vishwa – The World" unfolds & explores the dreams, desires & aspirations of the   destitute & deserted young people. Who fights against all odds of life and comes out as Survivors.
 
 
Fundamentals of the philosophy “Theatre of Relevance”

1

“Theatre of Relevance” philosophy is initiated & practiced by Manjul Bharadwaj since 12th August 1992.
 
Theatre of Relevance is:
 
1.     A Theatre that commits its creative excellence to make the world more “Better & Humane”.
2.     That is relevant to the context of the society and owes its social responsibility, not to Art just for the Art sake.
3.     Which caters to human needs and provide itself as a platform for expression.
4.     Which explores itself as a medium of change/development.
5.     That comes out from the ' limits of entertainment ' to a way of living.
---- Manjul Bhardwaj
 
 
2
 
“I see theatre as being relevant to the context of society and one that owes a social responsibility. It’s not just art for art sake but one that caters to human needs and provides itself as a platform for expression (statement).”
---- Manjul Bhardwaj
 
 
3
 
“We in society recite the potential of Theatre, but very rarely experience a theatrical performance through direct participation. By being spectators of a play, we are impressed by a performance, but by directly participating in it, the experience & impression leads to a change in our personality attitude & value”.

---- Manjul Bhardwaj

The Experimental Theatre Foundation `s


Training Intervention
 
Theatre Workshop
 
·       “ Theatre of Relevance” in Theatre Academics
A special module on “ Theatre of Relevance” - Understanding, fundamentals, principles, concepts and processes of “ Theatre of Relevance” for Department of Dramatics of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
 
  1. Workshop on theatre
  2. Workshop on acting, writing, direction, back stage etc.,
  3. A career in theatre - an orientation
  4. Role of theatre in social development
  5. Theatre as a medium of change
  6. Children theatre workshop
  7. Children theatre festivals
  8. Workshop on the philosophy “Theatre of Relevance”
  9. Play writing workshop
  10. Theatrical intervention in community-theatre as a strategy for change

Review the contemporary theatrical processes and planned for the future

 
Theatre as a Medium of Social Change
  • Sensitization of rural organisers on child labour through street theatre. (Conducted for V.V. Giri National Labour Institute)
  • Role of theatre in convergence of services to eradicate child labour. (Conducted for V.V. Giri National Labour Institute)
  • Role of theatre in mobilisation to eliminate child labour. (Conducted for V.V. Giri National Labour Institute).
    • Towards change … Motivational Workshops for Health providers : Thane District Organised by : POPULATION FIRST
  • Role of theatre in developing personal sensitivity on child labour. (Conducted for V.V. Giri National Labour Institute)
  • Developing leadership through theatre in the marginalised groups like women in prostitution, trafficking and other atrocities through theatre. (Conducted workshop for Prerana, Mumbai)
  • Street theatre for development. (Conducted workshop for different social organisations for “Save the Children-UK” in Bhuj)
  • Theatrical exploration of living in harmony with each other and with nature-an orientation. (Conducted a series of workshop for Comet Media Foundation, Mumbai)
  • How to deal with personalities in crisis (Street children, children in distress etc.,) through theatre. (Conducted a series of workshop for number of NGOs in Mumbai and other parts of country)
  • Conducted street theatre workshop for numerous groups to develop street theatre groups i.e. Srimik Pritisthan, Kolhapur
  • Street Theatre workshop
    • What is street theatre
    • What is a street play
    • How to write a street play
    • How to act in a street play
    • How to direct a street play
    • How to interact with the audience i.e. how to take audience participation during and after the performance.
  •  Community participation through street theatre
  • Training of trainers on street theatre
  • How to evolve street play from the target groups (beneficiary groups for whom a particular NGOs is working)
  • How to eradicate child labour through theatre. (A project School Jao Abhiyan is running since 1998. Rehabilitated directly more than 1,500 children and facilitating the educational process of more than 10,000 children directly.)
  • Developing youth group through theatre.
  • Dealing with the issue of gender sensitivity through theatre. (Conducted a series of workshop with college students i.e. NSS group, Slum youth, Middle class youth etc., for number of organisation i.e. Akshara, Mumbai)
  • Developing the self-concept through theatre in adolescent girls and women in difficult situation. (A series of workshop conducted for Bharatiya Mahila Federation, Thane Samiti)
  • Personality development through theatre.
  • Right to participation – a journey through theatre for children, youth, and women.
  • Developing the communication skills and interpersonal relationship through theatre.
  • Developing the personal sensitivity through theatre.
  • Role of theatre in social development.
 
 
Educational Institutions
  1. Theatre as a medium of change – an orientation. “Creative Initiatives in Education Towards Building an Enduring Society” (Conducted workshop for Smt. Kapila Khandavala College of Education, Mumbai)
  2. Participatory process through theatre.
  3. Child centered approach – through theatre.
  4. Spontaneity and innovation in education through theatre.
  5. Creative ways of learning in education through theatre.
  6. Evolving a collective process of learning through theatre.
  7. Role of theatre in education.
 
 
Corporate Institutions
  1. Attitudinal change and personality development-through theatre (Conducted a series of workshop for Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Western Region, Mumbai)
  2. Attitudinal change towards - Gender Sensitivity & motivation for social action for ONGC ( Oil and Natural Gas Corporation of India) organised by Population First.
  3. Team Building for BPCL & THDC.
  4. Strategic management through theatre. Theatre interventions focused on (Conducted workshop for Senior Deputy General Managers-Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., -BHEL, Noida & Central Bank of India, Mumbai )
  • Strategic issues – envisioning strategic thinking, creativity, innovation, risk taking, venturing into unknown.
  • Leadership – guiding, inspiring, teamwork, influencing.
  • Competition and competitiveness, Customer Service.
  • Change – change agent.
  • Personal effectiveness
    • Self expression – assertiveness
    • Receptivity – receiving feedback
    • Perceptivity – sensitivity to others
    • Action orientation – motivation to act
  • Subordinate development
  • Decision making etc.,
 
 
Human Behavioural Workshops through Theatre
 
  1. A special lab on basic human processes through theatre. (Specially conducted for ISABS, Delhi region)
  2. Role of theatre in understanding self, group.
  3. Role of theatre in interpersonal interactions.
  4. Role of theatre in discovering one’s dormant potential to live more effectively and meaningfully.
  5. Channelising the creativity through theatre.
  6. Role of theatre in developing spontaneous and instinctive interventions.
  7. Expressing the self through theatre to heal the grievances.
  8. Exploring the harmony in self through theatre.
  9. Role of theatre in envisioning.
  10. Motivational Skills - motivating self, group community through theatre.
  11. Developing leadership skills through theatre.
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