By IANSlife Features
New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANSlife) In the current environment, when kids are compelled to stay indoors, there is an increased demand for ways to keep them safely engaged this Diwali. The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) is hosting a five-day virtual Winter Fiesta which offers a variety of workshops for kids across the age group of 3 to 20 years.
The festival has a series of workshops scheduled to be held from November 16-20, aimed at broadening young creative minds, while focusing on enhancing self-expression in an informal and non-competitive environment. From magic, to classical music, dance, creative writing, to physical theatre, there is something for children belonging to every age group.
IANSlife caught up with award-winning theatre director, Bruce Guthrie, who has directed productions all over the world and is Head of Theatre & Film for NCPA, to shed some light on what the festival offers and why parents need to find a way to entertain their kids with online learning.
The pandemic coupled with the pollution during Diwali will make it tough for parents to keep children entertained and safe. Your take on this?
Guthrie: It is a strange and uncertain time right now. Being cautious is completely understandable. It is a challenge to stay productive and entertained during the holidays. We wanted to create a series of interactive and engaging workshops for children and young adults which are both informative and fun. These are five-day courses where the participants will build daily on their skill set and will receive a certificate for completing the workshop, signed by the relevant NCPA Genre Head and the workshop leader. Our emphasis is on high quality and interactivity.
Do you feel workshops are a great way to help children develop and create skills?
Guthrie: The courses we have on Winter Fiesta have been carefully chosen to offer variety and quality to our participants. They are highly interactive and each one will require the participants to engage completely with the class as it goes on. This will be the first time we have done the Winter Fiesta and we hope to continue to offer these workshops online in the future, even when are doing them live and in person at the NCPA again. Being online gives an opportunity for young people to engage with us and the arts from their own homes. We want to give them an experience that goes beyond a simple lecture or class. Art is something that expands a person’s horizons. It is experiential as well as intellectual.
Online workshops are a great way for children to stay connected socially with children their age, which is imperative for their wellbeing. Do you agree?
Guthrie: Online workshops are a fantastic way for children to stay engaged socially in a safe way. The energy of experiencing something live with other people is incredibly comforting. That feeling of togetherness, even though we are apart, is wonderful.
The Winter Fiesta will offer a variety of workshops for kids across the age group of 3 to 20 years, can you elaborate ?
Guthrie: We have 24 courses happening over a 5 days period – 16th to 20th November – with top practitioners. They are highly interactive, live daily and each participant will receive a certificate, signed by the practitioner and relevant NCPA head, upon completion. Each course has been chosen with an emphasis on quality. We want participants to be fully engaged, to grow and have fun over the course of the week. We have such a wonderful variety of workshops from Dance, to Magic to creative writing and classical music (with the Symphony Orchestra of India). For older kids (16-20 years old) we have fantastic sessions with Creatiwitty & TED Talks as well as a course on Shakespeare with 3 renowned practitioners from the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company.
As children might have been affected due to the long lockdown and strenuous domestic situations, non-competitive learning environments are important. Do activities like magic, classical music, dance and creative writing help?
Guthrie: The Non-competitive environment these courses offer is critical to the growth of any child or young person. Just being allowed to explore a particular art form, free of judgement, can unlock something that may otherwise never have been noticed at all. Hidden talents can remain hidden unless we try. The arts are not only about becoming an artist, creative thinking is vital in all walks of life. There is a reason many successful people are also passionate about art. Art enhances life in so many ways we cannot measure. The performing arts encourage collaboration, generosity, engagement, and openness. These are all great qualities for any individual to have.
Children are never to old to learn new skills, no matter what their age group is, do you agree?
Guthrie: We are all still learning! The older I get, the less know. That’s not to say I am becoming forgetful! I mean to say that as a young person, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. If you can remain open to learning new things, life is a wonderful and extraordinary journey. If variety is the spice of life, then the Winter Fiesta is something of a Spice Bazar! We are really looking forward to the Winter Fiesta this year. We look forward to getting creative online from the 16th to the 20th of November.
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