The nine-day AHA! International Theatre for Children fest 2011 is back, complete with storytelling sessions, plays and performances by troupes form Korea, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, the UK and India.
In its effort to showcase at least 50 children’s shows every year, Ranga Shankara has handpicked productions from across the world to increase the variety of theatre available to children in Bangalore. “It is very interesting, the kind of plays and productions that are created for and by children across the world,” says Arundhati Nag, creative director, Ranga Shankara. It has been holding the the fest since 2006. While Nag hopes more child-friendly productions can be produced in India, an international festival such as this will aid in exposure to other languages and cultures. “Though in some way we realized that children the world over speak a very similar language when it comes to entertainment,” she says.
The festival opens on 9 July with paint day. Children above 5 can walk in with colours, brushes, crayons and paint all day. The first performance of the festival, on the same day, is a Kathakali recital featuring Sadanam Balakrishnan (who plays Hanuman) and Leela Samson (Sita).
Part of an Indo-Korean collaboration, Heungbu, Nolbu directed by Kevin Kim of Theatre Seoul, is based on a Korean folktale and will show on 10 July. The play will have colourful costumes and live singing, accompanied by Korean instruments. And there is more fun to be had at a two-day puppet performance about Mimmi the mouse and Brumm the bear, who are both so tiny that they can live in a book, on 14-15 July. When the puppeteer, Margit Gysin, knocks on the book’s cover, the mouse and bear walk right out. The performance is based on the picture book by Gabrielle Vincent and directed by Enrico Beeler.
The two-day storytelling session on 16 and 17 July titled The Little Cloud will begin with Kutiyattam, a 2,000-year-old storytelling form, by Kapila Venu, a Kutiyattam maestro, who will perform an episode from the life of Lord Krishna, Stefo Nantsou, an Australian storyteller, Vayu Naidu Co. from the UK, and theatre practitioner and educationist Padmavati Rao. Ranga Shankara’s initiative of theatre for children has come a long way in the last six years, the first year saw a Grips theatre-style production Gumma Banda Gumma, that completed a hundred shows recently. Grips theatre is a popular German theatre for children.
The festival is on from 9-17 July. For details, visit www.rangashankar.org. Tickets (discounted rates for children) are on sale at Ranga Shankara, Indianstage.in and Bookmyshow.com. Children’s tickets are priced at Rs 100; adults’ vary from Rs 150-200.