House of drama

House of drama

Theatre personality Sanjna Kapoor blazes forth this year with her own theatre company, Junoon. She has powered the dynamics behind Prithvi Theatre for 22 years, carrying forward the legacy of her parents Shashi and Jennifer Kapoor, and her grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor.

Junoon is the crystallisation of her passionate desire to make performing arts a way of life for our young ones.Junoon has kicked off its inception this year with a bevy of exciting theatre workshops under the programme Arts at Play, for children, at different locations across Mumbai. And won rave reviews from parents and kids alike.

“Arts at Play is the 22-year-old Summertime with Prithvi programme in a new avatar. So it is not a new programme. It now comes under Junoon’s umbrella and is called Arts at Play. However, with Arts at Play we shall offer year round engagement with the arts for children and families as well as schools. We are offering a variety of professional art programmes to schools as well,” explains Sanjna. “It is my strong belief that the arts have to be an integral part of a healthy society, and are as essential as clean water, good air, roads, power, schools, medical facilities, etc. Taking the professional arts to children is one of Junoon’s programmes.”

Community centres

As part of the larger picture, Sanjna is hoping to seed neighbourhood community centres that will develop into hubs: oases in the maddening world where one can rejuvenate and enrich one’s ‘batteries’. Of course, the challenges that confront them are many. Especially in light of other theatre workshops for kids that, more often than not, follow the franchise model across cities.

“I think the biggest challenge we face is making sure our planning towards sustaining our programmes is in place — so the next 2-3 years of Junoon’s life is going to be greatly focused on building relationships and sustainable models.

Everything we do at Junoon depends on sound partnerships — it is fundamental to our working system that everyone we are working with belongs to the belief that the arts need to be in our lives in a vibrant and accessible way. It is this belief that binds us and energises us — otherwise we would simply be doing a job — and it would be impossible to achieve and sustain our goal. We shall begin with a few model projects that we hope will give people an idea of the world we are imagining and will allow them to take this dream and seed this engagement in various ways across various places. It will be a slow but a deep-rooted process,” explains Sanjna.

On the anvil is a School Connect programme as part of which Junoon will engage  with schools across Mumbai, to start with.

“Our activities will include professional performances for children in neighbourhood auditoria — the experience for these school children will be different from their regular performances. Encounter in schools will bring the  professional performing arts into schools. Teacher Arts Workshops will engage teachers into our learning fold. We shall also be working closely with corporates, offering them a variety of engagements with the arts,” she says.

For the coming months, she has her hands full. She says, “We shall be presenting the wonderful Footsbarn Travelling Theatre from Europe — an international itinerant theatre company — that we have known for over 15 years, and have brought several times to Indian before. They shall perform their new production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and if we manage to get the sponsorship, this will be a magical experience, as they will perform in their tent! This is how they traditionally perform in Europe and we shall get to experience the magic of their world! Inshallah!”

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