Visual treat by young guns

Sapno Ki Pagdandi’, a mega theatrical production celebrating dreams, desires and aspirations of the children of Jagdamba Camp, performed on December 1 and 2 as part of their third Annual Creative Arts Festival.

The initiative was part of Swechha’s non-formal learning programme for marginalised children. It was performed by 65 children between the ages of 6-18 years at Sri Aurobindo Society Campus, Adhchini.

The extravaganza was directed by Dadi Pudumjee’s Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust alongwith mime and circus artist Andreas Ceska from Austria and used elements of mime, circus, arts and shadow puppetry.

After the show Andreas expressed his joy of coming to India for the sixth time and performing with these underprivileged children. “I had a rich experience and the show was the result of our two-months of hard work. Although there was lack of space, the children performed with positive energy. All I can say that the event was a firework in itself.”

The kids had been rehearsing for the show for the last two months, using three different art forms - of mime, circus art and shadow puppetry to explore their world of fantasy which comprises butterflies, flowers, animals, friends, cars, planes and numerous other objects. The show ended with a small percussion act by the kids using drumming and rhythmic instruments made from buckets, stones and waste bottles.

The slum children, many of who don’t even go to schools came together and performed. But teaching them proved to be quite a task, says Andreas. “The children belonged to a different world, different background. Their behaviour was so different and even their reactions were so different. For example, a bunch of children fought over cycles used in the circus. They didn’t realise that each of them would get it, they just jumped on them. So, it was a bit difficult to handle them.”

The campus was shimmering with lights, stars and other huge colourful decorative items. Outside the amphitheatre in the college premises, there were huge installations using waste paper, flex and rice sack depicting ‘dreams’ of children.

Pawan Waghmare, from Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust who taught the children shadow puppetry, says, “It was a very successful event. The concept which was new for all these children was boring in the beginning, but later on when they got the hang of it, they loved it which later showed on stage.”

Although, circus is a dying art in India, these kind of events can help revive the art. Swechha initiated Pagdandi in 2009 as an alternative non-formal space for the children of Jagdamba Camp, a slum community in New Delhi.

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