India’s first International Digital Youth Theatre Festival.
Join us in this digital celebration of youth theatre through five days of live performances, workshops, play readings, conversations & collaborations.
Come explore storytelling with us, and be part of this global community of young, emerging artists!
Enter a world of innovative LIVE performances designed for the digital medium by young, emerging artists - all from the comfort of your homes!
WEDNESDAY | 16 DEC 2020 | 7PM IST
Mai Beedi Pikar Jhuth Ni Bolta A comedy about the village simpleton desperate to get married
Guthal’s entire existence has revolved around his obsession to get married. But something keeps getting in the way. Join two unreliable narrators as they take us on a hilarious journey looking at marriage and masculinity, and discover the true reason behind Guthal’s failed attempts.
Directed by Chandan Kumar Jangid
Cast: Lokesh Raj Kumar, Sunil Saini, Chandan Kumar Jangid
Technical support: Amit Choudhary
On camera: Smriti Bhardwaj
THURSDAY | 17 DEC 2020 | 7PM IST
Miah-Boy Diaries (Kolkata)
A moderately muslim musical
English, Urdu, Hindi
A young man starts keeping a diary to cope with the isolation of the pandemic. He writes about quitting his job, making music and exploring stand-up comedy. Interspersed with anecdotes from his late grandfather’s dusty notebooks, he takes us on an introspective journey of his world, to find what it means to him to be a muslim in today’s day and age.
Written, directed & performed by Atif Ally Dagman
FRIDAY | 18 DEC 2020 | 7PM IST
A satire about the difference between having ideals… and living them
Cartoonist Padmanabh Chandavarkar’s is against the removal of a neighbourhood slum. A media frenzy ensues, that somehow paints Padmanabh as the saviour of the displaced families. But was it all just a misunderstanding? Trapped between press reports & public opinion, Padmanabh finds himself in a hilarious predicament that he must get out of.
Directed by Ritika Shrotri
Cast: Gandhar Joshi, Saee Limaye, Surabhi Ranade, Aditi Devlankar, Tanmay Bhide, Neil Deshpande, Siddharth Vidwat, Yogiraj Mane, Priyanka Gandhi, Roomani Khare, Renuka Purandare & Shree Zad.
Live editing by Yash Lonkar
Sound design by Mukund Konde
Set design by Shrinath Gadade
Music by Atharva Vadke
On camera: Manasi Kale, Pradnya Jamdar, & Atharva Gokhle
Tickets at Rs. 200/- on insider.in
SATURDAY | 19 DEC 2020 | 7PM IST
The Light Catcher (Pune)
Every photograph deserves a thousand words
A photographer takes us on a tour of the world from her little studio. Using the black & white pictures from her travels, she introduces us to characters from Mumbai, Haryana, Lahore, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Venezuela & North Korea. But the question is, which one is her favorite photograph?
Written by Niranjan Pedanekar
Designed & directed by Sanket Parkhe
Performed by Ritika Shrotri
Music by Amogh Inamdar
Production & Light Design by Sanket Parkhe
On camera: Sanket Parkhe & Aditya Yadav
Stage managed by Pradnya, Paloma, Shreenath, Sanket Parkhe, Aditya Yadav & Shreenath Gadade
Costumes & makeup by Pradnya Jamdar & Paloma Ghate
Live edited by Vivek Khalane & Yash Lonkar
Tickets at Rs. 200/- on insider.in
The Flagship Performances are curated by Shivani Vakil and Vikram Phukan. Here is what they have to say:
Fifty-odd registrants offered up their attempts at creating theatre in which the digital interface was an irrevocable part of the storytelling, in a way that went beyond simply capturing the goings-on on stage with a camera. Even professional theatre companies were experimenting with this so-called nascent medium, although the associated technologies have been in place for years. For a generation weaned on tech, this could only be seen as an opportunity.
Youth theatre is often just a chip off the old block, and rarely heralds a changing of the guard when it comes to performance grammar or new thought. More than innovation, Thespo serves up fresh energies and vim, which can be really invigorating for a theatre scene set in its ways. The grand old proscenium most college auditoriums are facsimiles of is a handicap in itself, and allows for material that is tried-and-tested rather than truly adventurous. While there were examples of the status quo being diligently documented, this year’s constraint of the delimited digital space ironically allowed groups to think outside the box as they embraced the possibilities of the medium, while keeping a sense of ‘this is still theatre’ resolutely alive.
The festival will conclude with the vibrant celebration of young artists. The Thespo 22 Awards Night will shine a spotlight on the outstanding talent displayed during the main showcase – the Flagship Performances. Awards will be presented in various categories, recognising the writing, directing, design, production and acting talent of these young emerging artists.
WEDNESDAY | 16 DEC 2020 | 5 – 6PM IST
A digital experience directed by Renato Rocha. Devised in collaboration with young artists from India, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & & Brazil.
Hindi, English, Sinhala, Tamil, Portuguese
The third collaboration between Bazilian artistic director Renato Rocha and Thespo brings together the youth from India, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil to explore the essence of freedom, love and democracy. Under-Attack is a multicultural and multidisciplinary digital experience Infusing theatre, poetry, dance, cinema, music & technology in a non linear structure.
Directed by Renato Rocha
Dramaturgy devised in collaboration with young artists from India, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil
Cast: Aria Sharma, Gabriel, Lakshitha, Najirn Islam, Rithmaka, Robbin Singh
Sahlah, Tanvi Rao & Thilina
Crew: Nishika Mehta
16 TO 21 DEC 2020 | 8.30PM Onwards
The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries
Be at the heart of a week-long mystery adventure that takes place entirely over daily phone calls! Are you ready?
Thespo in association with Outside The March brings an immersive unique experience where we take you through a week long journey. Sign up for a six-day, improvised mystery adventure that takes place entirely over the phone. You provide us with a real mystery from your life, and we’ll try to solve it.
In collaboration with Outside The March, Toronto, Canada.
Cast: Sahir Mehta, Ninad Samadder, Mohammed Lehry, Vansh Raj Sethi, Alistar Bennis, Phalguni Rao, Kajol Chugh, Shradha Raj, Tanvika Parlikar, Mallika Shah.
WED, THU, FRI | 16, 17 & 18 DEC 2020 | 9-10PM IST
Kalaripayattu – A body-mind experience
A physical approach to character with Arpit Singh
About: Kalaripayattu prepares our mind & body to defend ourselves from sudden attacks. It gives us more endurance & sustainability, & the ability to be punctual, to have confidence in what we do. It helps us stay calm & composed in challenging situations. In this workshop, activate your complete body, gain a sense of physical presence & achieve discipline.
Arpit Singh, a theatre practitioner and Kalaripayattu artist has been researching & performing for the last 10 years. His training includes traditional Indian folk forms like Chhau, Gotipua, Baul, Fire Dance & Mime, Clowning, Physical Improvisation, Rhythm & Movement-based work.
THU, FRI, SAT | 17, 18 & 19 DEC 2020 | 9.30-10.30 PM IST
When the Stage and Story Sings
An introduction to writing musicals with Kevin Wong
About: How do we know when a story is served by the addition of characters bursting into song? How do we fuse the art of songwriting and the art of theatrical storytelling? What are the traits of the traditional Western-European musical?
Kevin Wong is a composer-lyricist, singer/musician, and dramaturge. Kevin was the Musical Stage Company’s Associate Artistic Director from 2016-2018. He is a member of the vocal group Asian Riffing Trio and is currently part-time faculty at Sheridan College.
WED, THU, SAT | 16, 17 & 19 DEC 2020 | 6 – 7PM IST
A mindful look at physical comedy, clown theory, and solving PROBLEMS, big and small with Peter Gould
About: We’ll look at how a physical comedy clown solves problems, how he or she perceives possibilities in everyday objects and routine situations. And, since we’re on zoom, we’ll consider how to think inside the box.
Peter Gould has performed all round the west for forty years. His play A PEASANT OF EL SALVADOR is in rep at QTP theatre. He runs a Shakespeare camp in Vermont in the USA, and founded the study of Clown Dharma.
SAT | 19 DEC 2020 | 11AM – 1PM & 3 – 5PM IST (In continuation)
Totems and Talismans: Working with Myth
Finding writing inspiration in the mystical world of mythology. A creative writing workshop with Ram Ganesh Kamatham
About: Mythology is a powerful source of creative inspiration, with potentially endless interpretive possibilities, and timeless universal appeal. In this workshop we will work with world mythology to infuse our writing with muscle, and let our imagination soar with magic!
Ram Ganesh Kamatham’s work has entertained & provoked audiences worldwide. His research has been awarded multiple fellowships. He won the Charles Wallace India Trust Award & was a grantee of the India Foundation for the Arts in 2014 & 2019. He also won the 2011 Sultan Padamsee Award for his hit comedy, Ultimate Kurukshetra.
WED & THU | 16 & 17 DEC 2020 | 11AM – 1PM & 3 – 5PM IST (In continuation)
A workshop that explores ways of speaking. Speaking up. Speaking out. With Sudhanva Deshpande
About: Voice out what you believe in, explore representing issues you care about using theatre in this workshop by scripting, understanding the movement of a scene, visualizing and working with tech, all of which will culminate into a performance.
Sudhanva Deshpande has been an actor, director, and organiser with Jana Natya Manch, Delhi since 1987. He works as editor at LeftWord Books, a Marxist publishing house. He cycles around town, when he’s not in forced pandemic isolation.
FRI & SUN | 18 & 20 DEC 2020 | 11.30AM – 12.30 PM IST
Word for Word
Play It As You Hear It
About: This workshop introduces participants to verbatim exercises that might prove useful in writing and performing for the stage.
Vikram Phukan is a theatre practitioner, playwright and stage commentator. He has written extensively on theatre in publications like The Hindu, Forbes India, Live Mint, Mumbai Theatre Guide and his own website – Stage Impressions. His writing credits include contributing to Sunil Shanbag’s Hindustani musical Stories in a Song; Limbo, and collaborating with The Patchworks Ensemble on The Gentlemen’s Club.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
This year, Thespo has the honour of presenting the award to Jana Natya Manch (JANAM) of Delhi, for the organization’s tireless dedication towards taking theatre to the people. We use the award as a means for us to introduce young people to the work of the people before us, creating in the future generation a sense of responsibility and context towards what they are inheriting.
Jana Natya Manch was founded in 1973 by a group of Delhi’s radical theatre amateurs, who sought to take theatre to the people. It was inspired by the spirit of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA). Its early plays, though initially designed for the proscenium, were performed on makeshift stages and chaupals in the big and small towns and villages of North India. It also experimented with street skits.
Janam’s street theatre journey began in October 1978. The first play, Machine with stylized dialogues depicted the exploitation of industrial labour. Janam has played a significant role in popularizing street theatre as a form of voicing anger and public opinion. It has done plays on price rise, elections, communalism, economic policy, unemployment, trade union rights, globalization, women’s rights, education system, etc. Some of its best-known street plays are Hatyare, Samrath, Aurat, Raja ka Baja, Apaharan Bhaichare Ka, Halla Bol, Mat Banto Insaan Ko, Sangharsh Karenge Jitenge, Andhera Aaftaab Mangega, Jinhe Yakeen Nahin Tha, Aartanaad, Rahul Boxer, Nahin Qabul, Voh Bol Uthi & Yeh Dil Mange More Guruji.
Image Courtesy: mayday.leftword.com
Photo Courtesy: Jana Natya Manch, Delhi
Members of JANAM include:
Sudhanva Deshpande, a theatre director and actor. He joined Jana Natya Manch in 1987, and has acted in over 4,000 performances of over 80 plays. He is the author of the book Halla Bol: The Death and Life of Safdar Hashmi. His articles and essays have appeared in The Drama Review, The Hindu, Frontline, Seminar, Economic and Political Weekly, Udbhavna, Samaj Prabodhan Patrika, among others. He has co-directed two films on the theatre legend Habib Tanvir and his company Naya Theatre. He is the editor of Theatre of the Streets: The Jana Natya Manch Experience (Janam 2007), and co-editor of Our Stage: Pleasures and Perils of Theatre Practice in India (Tulika 2008). He has held teaching positions at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, and AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Since 1998, he has been Managing Editor, LeftWord Books.
Moloyashree Hashmi, a street theatre activist and is the current President of Jana Natya Manch, India’s premier street theatre group. She has been involved in the creation of more than 80 street plays and has more than 6,500 performances to her credit. She is the Secretary of the Studio Safdar Trust and coordinates the Studio Safdar Library. Moloyashree Hashmi has also worked in the field of elementary education for over forty years as a school teacher, teacher-educator and as a curriculum consultant. She has written several textbooks and evolved new educational material. She was on NCERT’s curriculum development team for Performing Arts. She has extensively used theatre as a pedagogic tool in the classroom and explored the interface of the Arts and Education. She has been associated with the Theatre Practicum of the Bachelor of Elementary Education (Delhi University) from its planning stages, and has conducted the Practicum for the student-teachers for the last seventeen years in many colleges. She regularly conducts workshops on innovative learning techniques for several subjects at the elementary level for teachers in government and private schools.
Kajal Ghosh is a musical composer, singer and activist. At a very early age he began his training in Hindustani vocal music, the tabla and the harmonium and proceeded to pursue music at the university level as well. His journey with theatre began in 1971. Ghosh was a founding member of Jana Natya Manch and in the 1980’s he formed Parcham Choir – a group that dedicated itself to translating and singing protest music. He has composed for over 250 musicals. His compositions span across both television documentaries, plays, jatras, dance dramas and street plays.
Join us as we celebrate JANAM & The Lifetime Achievement Award at the following events:
FRI | 18 DEC 2020 | 2 – 3.30PM
Thespo Reads: Jinhen Yakeen Nahin Tha
A story within a story, “Jinhen Yakeen Nahin Tha” revolves around 7 strike breakers in a factory, all asking each other one question – “Would you choose to be a king or a slave?”
Thespo Reads is a participative, gender-neutral, community play reading initiative by Thespo. The focus is placed on scripts which have either been penned by young writers, those which present young characters or those which present the struggles in the lives of young people. For this session, we will be reading Jana Natya Manch’s 1997 Hindi play – “Jinhen Yakeen Nahin Tha”.
SAT | 19 DEC 2020 | 2 – 3.30PM
The Black and Red of Street Theatre
In conversation about street theatre with Moloyshree Hashmi and Priyanka of Jana Natya Manch, Delhi – the receiving organisation of this year’s Thespo Lifetime Achievement Award.
Moloyshree Hashmi and Priyanka of Jana Natya Manch, Delhi are joined by Devi Dang for a conversation all about street theatre, its nuances and its agency for socio-political change. Ms. Hashmi is the current president and is one of the founding members of the organisation, and Ms. Priyanka is a young leader within the group.
Community events at Thespo 22 are open & free for all to attend! Spend an afternoon reading an intriguing play with interesting company at Thespo Reads, or perhaps listen to one at Thespo Listens! Join Brook Gentry from Get Thee to The Funnery, Vermont in a Star Wars-themed Yoga session or come drop in & say hello at Thespo 22’s chai-filled virtual hang-out space for emerging artists. These are open events; entry is free.
SUNDAY | 20 DEC 2020 | 5 – 6PM
Paperwalls is a dramatised reading in association with the National Student Drama Festival, London.
Inheritance: Something that is or maybe passed down from one generation to another. I.e, Hand me down sweaters, chinaware, a memory of a touch
While a mother recounts an incident from days past, her daughter experiences phantom pains and disembodied agony. Confused yet hopeful, the daughter tries to empathise with her mother and find a way out of this feeling.
Written by Flora Wilson Brown & Sharodiya Chodhury
Directed by Hetty Hodgson
Cast: Aaina Gandhok, Aditya Tripathi, Aritro Bannerjee, Kokila Berry, Lavanya Krishna
In collaboration with the National Student Drama Festival, UK.
FRIDAY | 18 DEC 2020 | 5 – 6PM IST
Healing With Counsellor K
A story of faith, hope and sharing
Thespo in association with Get thee To the Funnery Vermont presents, a therapy group that meets over a period of six months with a well-known counselor, to confront and be healed from incidences of domestic abuse and violence in their own lives.
Directed by Peter Gould
Cast: Candice Souza, Gouri Bhuyan, Hrishabh Kanti, Mithil Raj Goswami, Ojaswi Bhattarai & Tishya Jain
Crew: Suhaani Gala
SATURDAY | 19 DEC 2020 | 5 – 6PM IST
Inclusivity Within The Theatre
Theatre for People with Disabilities
A panel discussion examining the inclusion of individuals with disability as performers and as audiences, the overall impact and scope.
About The Panel:
Kelly Hunter is the Artistic Director of Flute Theatre, for whom she has created Hamlet, Twelfth Night, The Tempest for children with autism, A Midsummer Nights Dream for young people with autism and their families and Pericles for people with autism. She is the creator of The Hunter Heartbeat Method, a series of sensory drama games for young people with autism and their families. An award winning actor, Kelly has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre, English Touring Theatre and Vesturport, Iceland. Kelly was also awarded the MBE for her services to theatre in 2019.
Dorka Farkas is a director and choreographer has accumulated long years of experience in staging improvisational dance theatre performances with physically disabled performers as well as in artistic skill development of visually impaired people. For the past 5 years she has been working with the Budapest based Baltazar Theatre Company, the only professional theatre group in Hungary employing mentally disabled actors.
Shaun Williams is an acting coach and actor with a collective experience of 20 years. Trained in diverse styles and traditions, he has been acting across the mediums of stage,TV and has had minor parts in film. He continues to act but currently focusses more on actor training. He has previously taught at school for children with learning dissabilities, primarily focussing on the skill building aspects of theatre.
Divya Arora is an actor and director, often credited as one of the first theatre makers and artist in India to be a wheelchair user with cerebral palsey. She has had a succesful run of 85 performances n India. her works include Tara and Melodu of Love – which she translated from French to English. She has been awarded The Karmaveer Puruskaar (Award) 2008- 2009 , Asian peace award 2008-2009 , The Hindustan Times “Hall Of Fame Generation Now” award 2003-2004, The “Best Emotions “ Award National School of Drama, New Delhi along many others.
The moderator, Meghana AT is an actor/writer/production manager from Mumbai, currently attempting to finish a Master’s in quarantined Prague. She was Festival Manager of Thespo 18, and has been the production manager for shows like White Rabbit Red Rabbit and the opera Il Matrimonio Segreto. As an actor she’s worked with directors like Mahesh Dattani, Trishla Patel, Faezeh Jalali, Jeff Goldberg and others.
WED & THU | 16 & 17 DEC 2020 | 2 – 3.30PM
Let’s explore the exciting world of audio storytelling – together!
Thespo Listens is a community play listening initiative by Thespo. Join the Thespo community as we listen to audio fiction from around the world in the form of podcast series, audio plays & more!
Over two sessions, we are listening to:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Primary Phase (Dramatised)
Join Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Trillian, Zaphod Beeblebrox & Marvin the Paranoid Android in their series of adventures as they witness the destruction of Earth, stumble upon the ancient planet of Magrathea, dine at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe & seek an answer to the ultimate questions of life.
36 Questions – The Podcast Musical
In this musical starring Jonathan Groff & Jessie Shelton, a couple attempts to bring their marriage back from the brink of divorce using 36 revealing questions designed to make strangers fall in love.
FRI | 19 DEC 2020 | 6 – 7PM IST
Star Wars Yoga
Join Brook Gentry from Get Thee to The Funnery, Vermont in a Star Wars-themed Yoga session!
SUN | 20 DEC 2020 | 2 – 3.30PM
Thespo Reads: Aayushyamaan (Marathi)
First performed at Thespo 9, this Marathi play follows the story of a young man re-evaluating his life’s choices in anticipation of his test results for a deadly virus
Thespo Reads is a participative, gender-neutral, community play reading initiative by Thespo. The focus is placed on scripts which have either been penned by young writers, those which present young characters or those which present the struggles in the lives of young people. For this session, we will be reading Aayushyamaan – a play which was performed at Thespo 9! The conception of this Marathi play was motivated by the article ‘Positive/Negative’ written by Mr. Kishore Kadam for a supplement of the Maharashtra Times. It is about a man who is forced to undergo an HIV test. The test changes his life completely as he visualizes the possibility of a positive result.
WED, THU, FRI, SAT & SUN | 20 DEC 2020 | 2 – 3.30PM
Chai @ Tapri
Thespo’s teatime hang-out party!
Join us between 4 & 5PM as we chat about all things theatre & storytelling! Come with your chai, meet new people, share a story, watch a performance or two by a fellow emerging artist – or simply drop in to say hello!
This is an open event; entry is free
Thespo is a Youth Theatre Movement that SHOWCASES, TRAINS, COLLABORATES and CELEBRATES to create a GLOBAL COMMUNITY OF YOUNG THEATRE PROFESSIONALS.
Since 1999, Thespo has showcased the best of youth theatre from across the country in the form of plays and devised performances. For emerging artists, Thespo offers training opportunities in the form of workshops, and facilitates international collaborations between theatre-makers from different parts of the world. Activities such as reading & watching plays together & open houses allow for year-round engagement and add to the experience of being part of a community. In December each year, Thespo celebrates emerging talent at its annual festival!
In its 22nd edition, Thespo is curating India’s first International Digital Youth Theatre Festival. Thespo 22 has been all about exploration, innovation, breaking moulds & pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the online space. In August, Thespo laid the groundwork for the year ahead with The First Call, a virtual gathering of young, emerging artists from around the world, to unveil plans for the annual festival. Registrations began for Flagship Performances (the main showcase at the festival in December) & for Thespo Thespo Tapri: Cheeni Kam, Stories Zyaada (a storytelling initiative for emerging artists).
As entries began pouring in from across the country, Thespo continued to mobilize the community. Since May 2020, Thespo has hosted multiple online workshops across different areas of theatre. Through events such as Thespo Reads, Thespo Listens & several Online Open Houses, the movement has grown, as has the community.
In October, Thespo put together two evenings of storytelling by young, emerging artists. Alongside the Digital Festival, Thespo is also facilitating Audio-Torium: Where Stories Find Sound, a one-of-a-kind initiative to develop, curate & showcase audio performances & pieces by emerging artists under 25. At the festival, over 20 LIVE, DIGITAL events curated, organized or performed entirely by artists under 25 will take place over six theatre-filled days. This digital journey has only just begun.
If you are a member of the press & require more information, or would like to set up an interview, please do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.