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 nurtur