From corruption to violence against women, to drug abuse, to oppression of the poor, to female feticide, to honor killing – our society today is plagued by innumerable issues and there is a dire need for awareness and change. From time immemorial, art has acted as a vehicle for social change. Art influences society by changing opinions, instilling values and translating experience across time and space. Art in this sense is communication. Theatre is said to be a powerful medium of expression to create social awareness among the people to fight against social evils. Theatre in India, as we see it, has a rich history, heritage and culture. Thus the theatre form of communication plays a key role in addressing the social problems in contemporary India.
THEATRE- A GREAT PLATFORM TO ADDRESS SOCIAL ISSUES
Theatre, being an old art form, plays a major role in the progression of a society and its overall development. In order to understand the prevailing social evils in India, a deep insight into the rich heritage and culture of the country is required. Issues rooted in our colonial past, cultural processes and socio-economic changes have altogether led to the burning problems of Indian society. Some of the gravest social problems faced by India at present are poverty, unemployment, gender inequality, caste discrimination, dowry, child labor, drug abuse, forced prostitution, domestic violence and female infanticide to name a few. Most of the social evils being faced by Indian society have its roots in the rural India. It is also evident, that in rural India, irrespective of the vast presence of electronic media, theatre remains the predominant mass medium. Often theatre is misinterpreted purely as a source of entertainment. But in reality it is a great medium to inspire social and political change. The message intended to be communicated to the target audience should be well-scripted and well-narrated. In India, street theatre has been playing a significant role in spreading awareness. This is the best way to get a message across to the people in an effective manner for it is staged right in the middle of the people and not on an elevated platform, creating distance between the performers and audience. But not only street theatre, all across the nation, several plays are performed in several languages to create social awareness among people. Thus theatre is a medium to create social awareness.
KOLAHOL THEATRE WORKSHOP WORKS TOWARDS SPREADING SOCIAL AWARENESS
We, at Kolahol Theatre Workshop, work towards spreading social awareness, through theatre and performing arts. We provide a creative platform to the people belonging to the less-fortunate and somewhat stigmatised sections of the society. We train these people with the aid of theatre therapy, so as to bring out their hidden talents and then stage plays with them. We have already produced three plays and have worked with transgender people, sex workers from red light areas and drug addicts. So our basic aim is to make people socially aware of the fact that everyone deserves a fair chance in life and that, talent is present in every individual in some form or the other. Moreover, in our first venture “Bishakto Panchali “, we brought forward several issues on women empowerment. Our third play, “Bewarish ” was a satire and it showcased several issues relating to social corruption.