From Collegiate to Professional, My Theatre Graduation of Summer 2020

My First Meeting with Kaivalya Plays

It was during the beginning of my third year session - 2019, where the team took a workshop from Varoon P. Anand (Artistic Director at Kaivalya Plays) that's when I explored Kaivalya Plays’ work and values. We, as a team, were loaded with tools and practises to ensure the safety of ideas, opinions and arguments in a workspace with the possibilities to recreate our processes.

Over college's three years, I could well understand and had witnessed that a lot goes into making a theatre production come alive while running a theatre group simultaneously. Theatre is beyond the technicals, make-up & costumes, design & direction and even writing & structuring, these are things which the audience witnesses but theatre is not limited to these, it is vast, involving ins and outs of day-to-day operations.

At Kaivalya Plays, I got the exposure to a wide array of root terms and tasks of a professional theatre company like - project planning and execution; communications and grant writing; financial planning and management; reconciling databases and audience management; maintaining public relations and communicating authorities.

Chapter One: Collegiate Theatre in Delhi

In the early years of my training in theatre at college, I had been exploring performing arts from the focused approach of 'creating' with a shallow knowledge of efficient managerial operations and practises, which goes into communicating the creation to the audiences, among other logistics. Unlike the third year, when as the president, I explored 'creative management' as a core-organ in the operational body and processes of Ankur - The Theatre Society of SGTB Khalsa College. My work with an amateur theatre group for three years taught me a lot about creating theatre and later made me curious to experience and experiment professional theatre practises and processes, which I did, at Kaivalya Plays.

The Experience: Onboarding, Orientation, Weekly Sessions and Projects

Following my experiences, I enrolled myself for the one-of-its-kind initiative of "Theatre Management Fellowship" by Kaivalya Plays and got my space in the room of the programme as another fellow, among 5, shortlisted out of 70-ambitious applicants from across the country, followed by the rigorous application and interviewing process.

Cut-to, first day - I entered the zoom-room with four other unknown faces on the day of Orientation and within the course of the meeting, I found myself the 'junior' most fellow in the room.

The junior factor never came-up as a deficiency in my working dynamics with the team of 7, because of the organisational structure we're introduced to, at Kaivalya Plays. Weekly and monthly scheduled plans and processes of the company had my belt tight for the upcoming 9-weeks of learning and exploring the contemporary Indian theatre scenario from the vibrant perspective of Varoon and Gaurav (Production Manager at Kaivalya Plays).

Getting A Glimpse Of An Arts Business

I found this fellowship as an opportunity to learn and practise the founding principles of running a successful theatre company, festival, or space – such as personal branding, programming operations, marketing across platforms, financial analysis and potential planning, project management and executions, fund-raising among others. This programme has nourished my understanding and knowledge emerged after the requirement of reviving our operational methods of theatre-making practices, a challenge that pandemic has brought to every dimension of art's practises.

This has been an opportunity that would arm with the skills required to succeed in the complex globalised environment in which the economies would operate amidst the pandemic and post-pandemic world. I saw myself strengthening the base for pursuing my long-term theatre ambitions, at Kaivalya Plays.

Kaivalya Plays has a diverse set of practises to commit itself into varied projects, which were offered to the Fellows to choose from, to provide on-the-job learning while executing respective projects. I chose 'Education Vertical' to nurture my interest in Theatre in Education and explore pedagogies, modules and skill-sets to build upon a combined experience of the company and offer it to our patrons - students and teachers.

Learning Through Multiple Mediums: Talks, Workshops & Projects

'Re-evaluation' was imbibed in our processes throughout Fellowship as a founding principle in our practises which in our Weekly-team meetings (every Monday or Wednesday) to grow the existing processes and build best-practices, while acknowledging the challenges it has for the team.

We started our week with a detailed follow-up on: week's goal, day-to-day task and dependencies on each other to get the task done, from the team of 7 on our respective projects. While starting the company week with a comprehensive update on our individual planning to achieve short + long term goals and to incorporate the past-weeks' experiences of each individual member in respect to grow an effective practise and operation has inserted a practical application of work-discipline in my process to carry life-time.

Weekly Tech Sessions on Digital Tools

Tech-Sessions was a digitally-equipped series towards the exposure of knowledge in technology and multiple indispensable tools to bring into our operational practises of theatre-making and managing a thea