Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Aha! festival!

Rangashankara’s s fifth AHA! International Theatre festival for children is here! I normally post events or activities after having attended the same with my son, but I thought this one deserved a mention while it was on! Yesterday’s “Cityscape” section of “The Hindu” supplement noted that theatre makes a qualitative impact in children’s lives and also helps in developing confidence and personality in young ones. So did Arundhathi Nag, fondly known as “Aru aunty” to children, who opined that children have much to gain from such creative, artistic and aesthetic experiences, even if they are not able to follow everything! When you expose children to live theatre, rest assured that something is being recorded somewhere in their impressionable young minds! Well, I couldn’t agree more and that’s why Rangashankara has been our favorite hang-out, whenever there’s a children’s play showing; That’s why we've bought tickets for all the shows that allow a six year old; That’s why in between Abhay’s homework, his music and drawing classes, my client meetings and my husband’s conference calls, we are driving to Rangashankara every other day; And that’s why life cannot get any more hectic than this!:-)

We have devised a way to share the chaperoning job between ourselves with each member of the family (that includes my in-laws and my parents) taking turns to accompany Abhay to the play. So yesterday, it was my turn to take Abhay for “Mimi and Brumm” by the Swiss Pupeteer Margret Gysin for kids aged 3-6 which Abhay loved of course. So today I decided to read him a book on theatre and performance and as usual I couldn’t lay my hands on one, just when I wanted one. But I found a youtube version of a famous book  titled “Amazing Grace” by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch. Grace loves stories and enjoys acting out stories and pretend to be different characters from Nana’s stories like Joan of Arc or Aladdin rubbing his magic lamp, or Mowgli from Jungle Book! When her class is to perform the play of “Peter Pan”, she imagines herself playing the role of Peter Pan. But she feels discouraged when her classmates tell her  that she cannot as she is black and a girl. When she confides in her mom and nana, her nana counsels her that she can be anything she wants if she puts her mind into it.  Her nana then takes her to the Grand theatre where the play “Romeo and Juliet” was playing and Grace feels encouraged to see a black ballet artist playing the role of Juliet. Grace then learns up the dialogues of Peter Pan and practices hard in preparation for the auditions for the class play. During auditions, she performs all her lines with ease and imagines herself to be flying as all her classmates watch in amazement and thus unanimously votedfor Grace to play Peter Pan. The play is a great success with Grace making an amazing Peter Pan! Elated, Grace felt as if she could fly all the way home when her Nana agreed and chuckled as she said “When Grace put her mind to it, she can be anything she wants”! A wonderful tale about determination, triumphs and the joy of performing! So the plays that the kids watch at the AHA! Children’s festival may just  give them the same inspiration! If you happen to be in Bangalore, don’t  miss the AHA! Children’s festival 2013!


  1. Am so happy to read this! i always wanted to know more about theater play! my son will be 5 yrs next week! his teachers told me that he shows interest in theater play since he does lot of pretend play and his imagination is good!but due to age restriction(to be 6yrs for theater play) am unable to put him to class! We have been showing him live performance on stage whenever we get chance!would like to know what type of books can i read to him that inspire him in theater play! Since I am in US by any chance am i able to view these programs online/youtube! Thanks for posting this article!

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I am so glad if I can help share information through my posts! I am not sure if the performances are available on youtube. But you can may be catch a performances on your next visit to India! I will check with the Aha! production people and let you know!
    You can may be checkout this website which is focused on picture book plays -

  3. HI Divya
    Nice article about AHA
    how did u book the tickets??
    Personally from the counter or through
    I couldn't find the link for booking the july12th show??
    Divya Balaji

  4. Hi Divya

    I think the July12th show is sold out since it is meant for a limited audience. You can try bookmyshow or at the counter itself(they even offer tele booking at the counter). Since it is on the way for me, I normally book tickets at the counter itself.