Theatre workshops are feeder lines, believes Krishna Kumar Santhanagopalan, the founder-artistic director of the theatre group Masquerade. The more people you teach, the more likely that some of them will take to the stage. So though he is busy with Masquerade Youth Theatre’s ongoing Camp Neuve (at Spaces, till May 29), Santhanagopalan will be conducting a two-day residential camp for children at DakshinaChitra. “The idea is to isolate yourself and look at theatre with more focus. Spread over 14 hours, the kids will go through the entire process of theatre—scripting, acting, improvising, voice modulation and a final presentation,” explains the theatre exponent who currently lives in Coimbatore, where he is busy scripting plays and writing children’s books.
Promising that it won’t be all work and no play—there will be bonfires, storytelling and early morning walks on the beach—he says the camp is for children between 10 and 16 because they “receive ideas better”. “I won’t be teaching them the traditional method. Rather, I’ll help them find a new vocabulary—both physical and verbal. Through discussion and practise, I’ll make them think about space, body and movement, help them mould characters, break out of them and involve the audience,” says Santhanagopalan.
While he rues that theatre is still elite and exclusive, Santhanagopalan is trying to make it more accessible. More residencies are on the cards, along with weekend theatre for working professionals. “Theatre is a serious profession abroad. People study hard to get on Broadway. Why can’t we have that culture here?” he signs off.
At DakshinaChitra, on May 16-17. Rs 2,500. Details: 9841777779
—Surya Praphulla Kumar