Equate theatre to acting
It is largely because of lack of understanding of the various aspects that go into theatre – scripts, props, music, lighting, sets, costume and sound system that people have a limited view. As far as children’s involvement in theatre is concerned, experts feel that we have barely scratched the surface as most children are even now only into acting.
Day-to-day activities to nurture an interest in theatre
Children 2-5 years
Storytelling and/or reading aloud are part of the daily routine of most homes, and these are indeed the first steps to introduce the narrative form, voice modulation of different characters, and music in theatre.
You can also recite rhymes or poems with actions. You and your child can each take on a part. Listening to audio books together (Karadi Tales has some excellent titles), can also expose a young child to the power of voice and music.
Children 6-9 years
Encourage children to act out their favourite parts from their books. They can make props (crowns, swords) and costumes (a ‘sari’ out of a dupatta) and sets (a ‘house’ created out of bed sheets and chairs). This will also help them understand the various elements that go into a theatrical production.
Take them out to performances meant for children, puppet theatre shows and storytelling sessions hosted by professionals. You can also play some theatre games (get ideas from some of the websites listed on the left)
Children 10-13 years
Encourage them to write simple scripts or scenes out of well-known stories. They can also try their hand at dialogue writing.
Children of this age group can put up a play for the neighbourhood or for close family friends. We have listed in the box on the left, some websites that offer scripts for young people’s plays.
We sign off with Padmavati Rao’s words, “Theatre lets you to explore a part of yourself – in that sense, a whole world of possibilities opens up to the child. It is our job to keep the innate spark of make-believe and creativity alive in children. If we can weave in storytelling, singing and fun games into our daily life, we would have introduced theatre naturally to our children.”