Vidya Logo

About Us
VIDYA Dhara - An Income Generating Program
Contact Us



Community Performance



























The Theatre Process

VIDYA reaches out to people through theatre. Theatre affords a safe space in which complex issues can be presented and analysed in a non-didactic and inclusive way. People are more likely to sit up and listen when serious concerns are conveyed through stories that have elements of fun and entertainment. When perhaps their own voices are echoed in the words of characters they can identify with. Or when they are able to recognize situations as extensions of their own realities.

VIDYA has adopted and liberally adapted techniques from the methodology of the Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) conceived by the internationally celebrated Brazilian writer, director, performer, teacher and scholar Augusto Boal.  "A radical theory that aims to turn the practice of theatre into an effective tool for the comprehension of social and personal problems and the search for their solutions"(Boal).

In Gujarat, VIDYA has pioneered work in the application of Forum Theatre, a vital element of the TO genre. Forum is a piece of theatre focusing on a problem relevant, ideally, to the lives of both those that perform it and before whom it is performed. It usually features a central protagonist who tries but fails to overcome oppressions in his or her life. The play is performed twice and the second time around, members of the audience (also called spect-actors) are invited to stop the action of the play at moments where they feel they could have done things differently had they been in the protagonist's place. They are asked to try out their ideas through actions and attempt to change the negative outcome of the play. While the actors remain true to their characters via constant improvisation. Through these interventions Forum Theatre becomes a rehearsal for reality and a platform to share information and common concerns. The idea is not to create competition between actors and spect-actors but to initiate a process of self-discovery and empowerment for all.

Vidya also performs Structured or non-Forum theatre, often facilitating interactive sessions with audiences after a play is enacted. Music and songs are an integral feature of VIDYA's performances and have proved to be very effective in attracting audiences and providing entertainment. People, especially children, remember the message-based lyrics long after the play is over. We have often been greeted with familiar tunes on returning to a particular area. In Ahmedabad, performances are regularly held on an average of four per month, in selected slums. Click here to see our most recent performance schedule.

The pre and post-performance periods are of great significance in our working process. Before making inroads in an area, the team carries out statistical as well as qualitative research on necessary data with special focus on the status of the girl-child in that particular place. Contacting local officials, other organisations that may be working there, and community leaders form an important part of the research. As well as personal interviews with a cross-section of people living in the region. VIDYA's work does not end with the culmination of a performance. Besides gathering instant feedback on issues presented, team members return to the area to facilitate small, sometimes single-sex, group discussions on concerns depicted within or arising out of our plays. Several community groups have been formed as a result of such exchanges. Like the fathers' groups in some places. VIDYA has also created innumerable role-play scenarios together with local people based on their indigenous experiences, situations and difficulties. People are encouraged to reassess existing negative attitudes and actions. And collectively assume responsibility for their community's progress.


Forum Play involves not merely issue-based performances.  This technique portrays a central character where a problem evolves around.  At the end of the performance the central character raises various questions which involve discussions with the audience.  A collective view of the audience is performed to find out the solution of the problem.    

Forum Theatre is a theatrical game in which a problem is shown in an unsolved form, to which the audience, again spect-actor, is invited to suggest and enact his/her solution.  The problem is always the symptom of an expression, and generally involves visible oppressors and a protagonist who is oppressed.  In its purest form, both actors and the spect-actor will be people who are victims of the oppression under consideration.  That is why they are able to offer an alternative solution because they themselves are personally acquainted with the oppression.  The forum is a form of contest between spect-actors trying to bring the play to different end (in which the cycle of oppression is broken) and actors ostensibly making every possible effort to bring it to its original end (in which the oppressed is defeated and the oppressors are triumphant)

Munni is a perfect example of FORUM Theatre, though its pre-launch brought on much criticism but it was very well received after its launch.  In the very first performance it gained tremendous success by bringing in about 3755 audience out of the total population of 7995 in the various urban slums. This play is based on the exploitation of women with the main theme of Sexual Harassment in the workplace, which later leads to various physiological and psychological problems. 

“Vidya”, on the other hand is a structured play throwing light on the Female Fetus issue.  The audience takes a similar interest as with forum plays but here, problems and discussions relate to the play as well as the character has to deal with the issue in workshops arranged by
VIDYA’s peer group. In addition, experts are invited from various specialized field for instance in DwarikaDish Nagar – Amraiwadi, a community member who is an advocate in the Session court provided his counseling/expertise on women’s right and the most effective way to approach the judicial system. 

Click here to see the Schedule of our upcoming Community Performances.


Back to Top

© 2007 VIDYA an Education & Charitable Trust
Private Policy and Terms of Use

|| Home || About Us || Theatre || Performances || Workshops || Library || Contact Us ||