Theatre of Relevance – an instrument to Transform Education in India

Education and teachers are integral to the development of the nation. However, India has lagged drastically in narrowing the learning gap, addressing and contributing towards value based development of its people and the nation. The teachers are unable to identify and position themselves as the source of creation and development of Indian society. The challenge is evident in inability

to achieve the role of creator, facilitator and ‘Guru’, which is the most important aspect of the Indian culture. The actual goal of education seems drifted and sadly, the parents have surrendered to the falsehood of creating factory products in the name of schooling, education, grades and are trained to measure the success through competition, unlike collaboration which is the essence of life.

Theatre of Relevance breaks the conventional framework of the education system by evolving teachers to liberate from the limitations of being mere fruitless practitioners redundant in context to the society and the nation. The purpose of education is to create the process of envisioning. Theatre of Relevance connects theoretical knowledge with practical lives and builds the perspective to relook through one’s own life experiences. It imbibes scientific perspective and resolves the challenges of Indian education system.

Theatre of relevance is a philosophy initiated by Manjul Bhardwaj in the year 1992 and currently celebrating 25 years of cultural consciousness through series of Theatre Festivals in New Delhi and Mumbai, workshops, and training in Media, Education, Theatre, Corporates, Politics, Entrepreneurship at Institutional, Individual, Indian and International level.

Learning is Participative

Theatre of Relevance ensures participation of children, parents, and educators as it processes the evolution of the pain, struggle, joy and dreams of the human being. This connect is devised from life and life experiences, and this is the process of learning, evolving together to transform the current system.  A system where no one has to wear masks and the teacher is able to identify the uniqueness, process the challenges through creativity, awareness and acceptance. The teacher applies his/her learning and is transformed into a facilitator and maximizes potential of the children/students.

The teacher’s journey starts as a facilitator when she/he connects with the dreams and curiosity of the children through realization that teaching is a process of evolving together,  a lab of life where we cultivate unique beings who are different and yet one with the vision and purpose of learning.  The clarity of the vision initiates openness and creativity to surmount every day challenges. The teacher is empowered to device a two way method to make learning participative.

Catharsis to Empowerment

When we deny the contribution and role of Theatre in our life we deprive ourselves from and innovative journey of exploration, development and change.

Theatre of Relevance is about managing time, space, human resources & its processes, emotions, thoughts, dreams, desire, action, response, social & organisational behaviour. It is an experience which is ‘here and now’.  It is a catharsis which empowers us. Today we are focused on value based learning and value based learning facilitates value based leadership, which is the need of the mankind. Theatre is a laboratory of self-exploration where we are provided with the space to challenge oneself, self-worth, strength and weakness, ability to connect with others, emotional intelligence, expression, openness and likewise which leads into deep understanding of human processes.

Theatre of Relevance is creativity that is required today to achieve our aspirations, dreams and challenges. The conditions for creativity is to leave once comfort and go to the wilderness of our intuition, curiosity, focus, accept conflict and tension,  and to be born every day. To feel a sense of self is the very basic discipline of Theatre of Relevance. Creativity in interaction with people is one of the most crucial skills a human being can hone and theatre develops those interactive skills. Recreating one’s own life is the highest form of creativity and theatre is the recreation of life, it processes us to recreate and rediscover, to be a change maker in different spheres of life.

Inspiration for Transformation

Leadership, vision, creativity, innovation, emotional intelligence, team building, planning, personal effectiveness, communication, confidence and many other attributes that is expected of a teacher and human being today, you can find these in theatre as a new and unique instrument to experience, learn and live. Theatre is a mirror which opens your eyes and aids to see your own face, to discover, understand the present and plan for the future. It develops a sense of objectivity, enthusiasm and focus. It creates habit of timing, newness and inspiration for transformation.

Theatre of Relevance philosophy is an awareness of effective communication in its verbal and non-verbal form. Theatre is a medium of attempting complete communication of human experiences by creating the illusion of reality with human being as actors. It has therefore real space, real time, real actors and experiential emotions. In other words it tries to concretize the abstract ideas, experiences and various intricate relationships between human beings and nature for better understanding. Therefore it makes the exercise an intellectual and spiritual one of the highest degree. Theatre enables intuition, insight, instinct and observation which is one of the key skill of a trainer, teacher, facilitator or a leader.

Theatre has the capability to bring life to ideas, vision and existential experiences in communicable forms which helps a transformational leader to envision, align others to their dream and motivate for execution.

Unmasking the Mask

The greatest challenge in the system today is the mask that everyone wears and through Theatre of Relevance processes the human beings are encouraged to voluntarily unmask themselves which creates a belief in their natural self, their ability to rediscover, dream and to create a vision for themselves and their counterparts. The unmasking is a process which streams freshness and harmony, positive vibrations and emotional strength, intra and interpersonal bonding and create a team of effective human beings. Theatre develops confidence, articulation, dynamism, spontaneity and a habit of timely response, alertness, attentiveness and expressiveness. It prepares to face the challenges and keeps you alive and vibrant. Theatre is a great stress buster instrument which relaxes and brings joy that motivates towards achieving higher in life.

Out of the classroom into the World

It triggers the unleashing process of hidden potential that is creativity, excellence, zeal to excel, latent values, in a very participative and spontaneous manner and the person who has gone through this process is able to give his best. And that best is also provided a platform to understand how it has been perceived, received, observed and evaluated by other counterparts.

Theatre of Relevance philosophy compliments the pedagogical practise where learning is not limited to school but it is evolved of/from/for life. It develops the vision where the students not only find teaching innovative, purposeful, skilful and knowledgeable but also intellectually intriguing and at par with other professions like of the lawyers, doctors, IPS, IAS and Nation Builders. Theatre of Relevance stimulates a collaborative learning environment and focuses on quality of education by connecting theory and practice, thus, out of the classroom into the world.

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