We Move’s Abhishek Iyengar on winning an international scholarship, the future of theatre and more
He was rejected twice, but the third time, they couldn’t ignore his passion and perseverance. Theatre director, Abhishek Iyengar, co-founder of WeMove Theatre Solutions that runs WeMove Theatre has been selected for a 10-day Winter Intensive theatre course by the USUS-based Double Edge Theatre. T his paid scholarship (worth USDUSDUSD 1,000), by the Ashfield Massachusetts Hilltowns-based Double Edge, will help Iyengar learn the theatre company’s approach to the art form. “Getting this scholarship wasn’t easy.
There are so many artistes from across the world applying for it. Perhaps, what made a difference is that WeMove uses theatre not just to entertain, but to provide solutions and opportunities to freshers,” says Iyengar who has been a theatre artiste for over a decade. He adds, “We conduct workshops for professionals in the corporate sector and it has transformed into a tool for them to solve team problems and deal with challenges.” Justifiably, WeMove Theatre has a list of 24-plus regular clients.
But how would an individual’s achievement and scholarship training benefit theatre in the city at large? Those who have followed We Move Theatre over the last couple of years will agree that Iyengar has been among the key artistes in the city to provide an inclusive platform for newcomers. A long with his co-founder Rangaraj Bhatracharya, Iyengar has continuously attempted to make theatre more accessible, reaching the grass-root level. From their first production in 2006 — Me, My Love, WeMove has produced several plays that have been running to full houses for weeks together.
Nannavala Kagada in 2010 was their first hit with 25 shows. This was followed by another successful production, Namma Metro, then Malgudi Express, P.S. I Don’t Love You to the recent political satire Magadi Days. “When we started out, we volunteered at numerous theatre festivals, and tried working with various groups. But lack of experience and not coming from a theatre family made things difficult.
That’s when Ranga and I decided to start out on our own,” says Iyengar.
WeMove now has a repertoire of 32 actors, amassed over innumerable workshops, and a core team of four. Recently, the company was invited by FICCI, to give apresentation on theatre techniques for skill development, at the 5th India-Arab Partnership Conference in Oman. “But our main focus remains the same — to make theatre sustainable and employable, giving newcomers a fair chance,” says Iyengar. Next on their agenda is the Big Step Gully Version, an initiative that aims at taking theatre to community hubs and localities.
— Ayesha Tabassum