10 Aug 2012

From Chennai to Mumbai: ‘How Theatre Can Help Train People Across Sectors’ Day 3

Workshop Chronicles: 

More from Emily Gray‘s engaging blog as she reports from Mumbai on her pioneering workshops in India.

Day 3

‘…the freedom to be playful, open and exploratory’

The BC (British Council) alumni workshops have brought together professionals from the Arts and Corporate world - across both Mumbai and Chennai I met people from the finance, HR, teaching, marketing, airways, film, visual arts and digital industries. All came with a curiosity about how theatre can help to train people across sectors; a number declared how theatrical Indians are and therefore how appropriate this training is.

The groups were new to each other but all had one element in common – they had studied at some point in the UK, from Aberdeen to Liverpool, Bristol to London. Once again, the Trestle masks gave the participants the freedom to be playful, open and exploratory. Many commented on how quickly they had played against their type in a mask and how fascinating and liberating it is to see a different perspective. Many scenes involving the undermining of hierarchy and rebellion against the norm ensued and much laughter was shared as participants surprised themselves with their ability to dance, to be aggressive, to be gentle in a mask. The feedback included discussion on the need to align body language and facial expression and whether “actions speak louder than words”.

These workshops felt like the beginning of a process as we touched upon the power of masks to develop physical awareness and liberate performance qualities. The Chennai group used masks from all three sets, rapidly grasping the different ways the masks can work and allow wonderful scenarios to develop, such as the worker who wants to set their boss alight and the safety conscious co-worker standing by with a fire extinguisher which is eventually used to hit the over confident bully of a boss; the father and his two daughter who struggle to get along until they are left a small fortune, which develops new problems in the relationships. The personal worlds collided with the corporate and we debated and enjoyed the results.

I hope to return for more of this work as the masks have loved India and vice versa!

More to follow as The Snow Queen opens to a rapturous reception at the MetroPlus Theatre Fest back in Chennai.

Trestle’s outreach programme in India
is delivered in partnership with:

For details about The Snow Queen tour in India, click here
For info about UK show dates at the end of the summer, click here
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