Tuesday, January 02, 2007

...and a Happy New Year!

We're back! Coming back to New York has been like getting on a fast-moving train. We were immediately caught up in company activities not to mention the frenzy of the holiday season!

As we enter into the New Year things are looking quite promising for us here at Bond Street. Our planning trip to India was more enlightening then we anticipated. We met with several individuals and NGOs that are going to be fantastic resources and collaborators when we return in February. Everyone is very excited about our work and we expect a very positive response.

(PICTURE: children in a village outside Kolkata watched us work in an open theatre studio)

A partnership is also in the works with UNICEF to initiate a South Asian Social Theatre Institute (SASTI) at the Gandhi Center in Delhi. It will be a tremendous benefit to the field of social theatre and a great opportunity for us to share our knowledge and experience to make this program a reality.
(Picture : Ghandi Center performance pavillion, New Delhi)

We hope to design a full range of programming, and identify practitioners who will continue programs at the Center once we’ve returned to the US.

We will put together a team of 8 including a few of our Afghan partner and some new Indian artist as well. The initial phase of SASTI will involve direct collaboration with theatre artists and stakeholders, both in studio settings, at the Center, and in the field in conjunction with community programs. We hope the future of SASTI we include an expanded network of participants from other countries throughout South Asia including our some of our Afghan collaborators.

Our team will also work throughout Delhi to present performances and workshops with some of the following groups that have especially requested our assistance:

*Salaam Baalak Trust – to work with poor children living in the railroad station and to train and direct the young actors at their Center.
*Pravah – to help them develop their Theatre for Development program, and accompany their actors on some of their community work in Delhi and outside.
*Jagran NGO (Alanar) – to give workshops to their actors and perhaps join them on some of their work in the villages around Delhi.
*Jamia Millia Islamia University – to give guest lectures, presentations and workshops for their students in their new Development Communications program (part of the Mass Communications Department).
*God Graces School – to work with their teachers and students.
(PICTURE: Salaam Balak Trust youth theatre group performs play about abuse )
In addition to the work in Dehli, we will also be working in Kolkata and West Bengal with Banglanatak, a well-established social theatre organization. They have asked that we spend some time training the local theatre groups that they work with in the villages. Most of these groups follow very traditional performance techniques and we will have a great opportunity to learn from each other.

We are brimming with excitement here about the year to come. Keep checking the blog, throughout our trip, to hear the latest news from India. As always, we hope our family and friends, throughout the world, are enjoying a very happy new year!