Street Theatre – Empowering India

Street Theatre – Empowering India

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A composite art form that addresses social issues, theatre occupies a special place in Indian society. A fusion of music, dance, drama, stylized speech, & spectacle, theatre in today’s times is looked upon as rich narrative entertainment. Theatre industry in India plays a phenomenal role in mobilizing and awakening, through its various forms.

Deeply rooted in native ethos, with the belief that culture can be an alternative conflict resolution mechanism some forms of theatre, such as nukkad nataks or street theatre are developed to play an imperative role in empowering the society. Therefore the theatre industry in India has become a part & parcel of India’s social movement. Its power to generate queries, debates, and discussion among the audience and bring about an impact that lasts more than the production time, makes this form a popular medium of conveying matters of immense importance.

Street theatre is supported by social initiatives and moral bodies. And hence, addresses a plethora of important issues such as gender discrimination, health hazards, the importance of education etc.

Some groups from the theatre industry in India are making a difference using this theatre art for empowerment:

theatre industry in India
Street theater for social awareness | Image: File Image
1) Nazariya

This is one such initiative in Gujarat. An expression of social change, Nazariya uses theatre in different forms to create a culture of gender equality, communal and religious tolerance. Furthermore with the help of forum theatres and peace rallies, Nazariya has banished ignorance and bought about social and political awareness.

2) Kolkata Creative Art Performer

Starting their journey in the year 2000 in Bengal. This group takes small theatre to people and addresses a gamut of health issues. It has effectively used street theatre to instigate awareness against disease like Polio, Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Malaria, HIV AIDS etc.

To change the situation and make people take notice, Kolkata Creative Art Performer has also enacted plays on drastic issues such as women trafficking, alcohol & drug addiction, and child labor.

3) Ashokenagar Natyamukh

This group uses theatre in an alternative way. It has applied theatre to informal education and formed something known as ‘theatre therapy’. Ashokenagar Natyamukh has been successful in using theatre as a weapon against illiteracy, dropouts, suicidal activities, mounting pressure, and depression among students.

It has also been instrumental in focusing its attention on unprotected children and has managed to raise awareness about their problems and social right.

Various theatre groups of India address an array of different social issues. Due to this plurality of expression, India is able to strengthen its democratic base. And also empower the marginalized people at the very grass root level.

It is important to note that conventional theatre, along with new experimentation, enhances the development process in India. Consequently making theatre an irreplaceable medium!


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