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Street Plays – A Means of Spreading Awareness

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By Tushar Malica:

Theatre and India share a long relation dating back to about 5000 years. The earliest form of theatre being the Sanskrit theatre. Bharata’s ‘Natya Shastra’ was the one of the earliest play enacted in India. With subsequent conquests by Moghuls , the British and the likes,  theatre also transformed. It was influenced  as deeply as our food, art and language. From being a combined form of narrating a story with the help of acting , dancing and reciting ; it has branched out from expansive and costly stage theatres to bare minimum street play. Street theatre involves presentation in outdoor public spaces without a specific and paying audience but a fairly large group. These spaces can be anywhere, including malls, car parks, street corners et al. These plays may address serious issues like HIV/AIDS, family planning, corruption, saving the girl child etc. The actors who perform the street theatre maybe people lacking means for a big hall and proper audience, organized theatre companies or groups that want to send across a social message or to advertise their mainstream work. We all love to be entertained. What could be more intelligent than mixing entertainment with an attempt to change the society?

In recent years street theatre has picked up pace and has acquired an image of a more moral nature with just the right kind of fun. Better known as ‘nukad natak’ today, is perhaps the best way to connect with the common man and the youth. These are much intimate, brief, direct and address the social/political message head-on with the help of drama. The catchy phrases and songs, crisp script, humor and loudness help in making a long lasting and powerful effect on viewers. These plays if targeted towards youth can really stir up emotions, create awareness and lead the way towards positive change. Nukad nataks are an important tool in creating awareness, empowering the youth and utilizing our right to freedom of speech and expression positively. This colloquial form of drama connects with the youth instantly. The lack of properness and formal atmosphere adds to its appeal and gives it a real lifelike look.  It not only enlightens people but gives us, the citizens to voice our opinion too. These plays have similar impact like Mark Antony’s speech on Julius Caesar’s death. The stirred up crowd and their displayed and fuelled up emotions may be considered parallel, plays having to do more with our mind.  Similar to the results of Mark Antony’s funeral speech, these plays have the strength to start a social revolution. This enthusiasm if used in the correct manner can lead to drastic changes in our society. Changes we wish for. Changes that make us blame the government for mishandling the affairs concerning our nation. It’s all up in our head-right in our brain- the change. Changes in society does not mean only having enough capital for putting up street lights for women’s safety but it is about thinking or better, having the attitude of not adding to the problem and helping people mitigating the situation. Change in society comes with the change in the mindset of the people and street plays can rightly achieve that goal.

As youth is a country’s tomorrow, making them the target audience is a great idea for bringing about a change. Hence, issues that parents miss out on discussing with their children or topics that haunt our youth in general can be tackled through these street plays and change the society slowly into a better place to live in.

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You must be to comment.
  1. Meena

    we want to awareness programme for quarry workers through street play can you help us.

    1. Mayank Oza

      Dear Meenaji,
      I am a freelance writer and director. I have written and directed
      many plays on different issue for awareness programs.Please let me know your requirement…I am staying near Ahmedabad (Gujarat)

      Regards,
      Mayank Oza

    2. Upasana

      Dear Mayankji,
      I am interested in a street play for farmers regarding the benefits of crop insurance for Agriculture Insurance Company of India, which a govt. company. We will pay you accordingly for your script and direction. Moreover, not only street plays, but also others means of communication like: Puppet Show (Kathputli), Magic Show (Jaadoo Ka Khel), Pantomime (Mukabhinay), Folklore (Lok-katha) etc, if any.
      U can mail me at upasanahd@aicofindia.com or nasikrocker@gmail.com. There is no barrier of language. You can even present your script in English, Hindi or Gujarati.

  2. Chaitra.M

    Hi,

    I would like to do a skit/drama/streetplay on theme Safety. Request you to help me this regard.I have participated in dramas (hobby)but long back.presently i m working as safety health & environment Executive in bangalore. pls help me in this regard such that the script should have all three aspects(safety,health & environment).

    Thanking You,

    Chaitra.M

  3. Tanika K.

    Hi,
    m a cllg student n we hav to perform street play on social issues of awareness involving only galsss… plss help me out n let me knw wht we can do ….

  4. Bhargav Vyas

    Hi!!!
    I am a post graduate student n we have to perform a street play on business communication or on issues related with it.Play should be in english language. plz let me kw if any one can help us out.
    Thank you.

    regards,
    Bhargav

  5. sonal

    hey if u have any topics that kids (age 5 to 12 yrs) can perform.
    Drop m mail sonal17dhoot@yahoo.co.in

  6. antony

    hi.. if you have any scripts on organ donation please drop it to my email ..it will be very helpful

  7. Mohan

    Sir
    we want to perform a stage drama in colleges on aids awareness and want a strong script through which we can convey the audiance that no illicet sex and it distorys family and the one who does it ..
    Thank you.

    1. Mohan

      Plse mail me the script as early as possible thank u.

  8. Leela Imam

    I work with Smile Train and we provide free sleft surgeries to children cleft lip and palate. Can we plan a street play to raise awareness about cleft condition and showcase the plight of children born with cleft lip and palate. would you be able to help us.

  9. Sara D’Souza

    Hello, I'm studying to be a Special Educator and my class needs to put up a play for the annual day of our department and its school.
    Looking for a funny Hindi play of about 25 minutes in length, which also has a message.
    Can anyone help?

    1. srinath

      really

    2. srinath

      ho,really

  10. Moupiya Banerjee

    Hi, We are Urotaar, a Socio-Cultural Organization based in Kolkata, working solely with Street Theatre for the past 5 years. If anyone wishes to get in touch with us, then this is our Page Link:
    https://www.facebook.com/Urotaar/

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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