Voices of Now: India 2012

In 2012 the United States Department of State funded four artist-educators from Arena Stage’s Community Engagement division to travel to India to create devised theater pieces with diverse groups in four cities: Kolkata, Patna, New Delhi and Hyderabad. Using workshop activities and rehearsal methods used in Arena Stage’s Voices of Now program, artist-educators devised and directed plays exploring themes important to the ensemble of artists in each community.

About the artists: The ensembles included professional theater artists, activists, women and girls rescued from trafficking, children from a local orphanage, street children, high school and college students and others. Although most of the participants were teenagers and young adults, one ensemble’s youngest member was six and another’s oldest member was over forty.

About the plays: The plays asked vital questions about significant social issues such as power and how it relates to gender, pollution, lack of accessible health care, poverty, and how to maintain positive cultural traditions in a new world. The plays were written and performed in English, Urdu, Hindi and Bengali.

About the process: In each city, artist-educators led workshops and created plays with different communities. The Arena Stage team also trained artists, activists and educators in the methods used in the Voices of Now devised theater process.

In Their Own Words

“How do we take the best of the old and make something new? How do we maintain our culture, traditions and history in a new world?”

– From Old and New by the Voices of Now Hyderabad Ensemble

“We all hold power to do something to change the world, the capacity to bring a change. All we need to do is to be a little generous and reach out.”

– From Power Play by the Voices of Now Kolkata Ensemble