Our Drama in School Trainers
Working in the field of drama and theatre-education for the last eight years, Sananda brings her expertise in curriculum development for drama and theatre in education to TPPL. Sananda is a trained IB Theatre Arts teacher from the International School’s Theatre Association [ISTA] in London (2009) and Singapore (2012). An alumnus of St. Xavier’s and an Odissi dancer, she uses her understanding of movement in her work with children. Before joining Theatre Professionals, she worked at B. D. Somani International School for four years teaching Theatre Arts for the IB Diploma programme and drama at the primary school. She actively works with institutions like Aurobindo Education Society, TERI, Teach for India, SVKM, etc. to conduct workshops for children and adults on using drama as a tool for education. When not in schools, she divides her time as a lighting designer and director with professional theatre groups in Mumbai.
Everything Shaizia does embodies her love for children. She has been teaching children drama for the past 5 years, aquiring hands on experience as a Drama Trainer and Therapist, starting at Trio World School in Bangalore, Bombay International School, Aditya Birla World Academy, and Sadhna School for Down Syndrome Children. Shaizia has gone on to teach at the South Indian Education Society and currently teaches at NSS Hillspring, Academy, Panbai International School and an after school centre called Aum Yash Kendre. As Theatre Professionals' senior most trainer, Shaizia is a constant source of information, inspiration, knowledge and experience for the rest of the team. Shazia also works as a puppeteer and runs puppetry workshops for children outside of school.While she teaches during the day, Shaizia also works on animations, graphic design, and is currently pursuing a degree in Illustration and Design from the UK as well. .
Shruti holds a Master's degree in Theatre Arts from Mumbai University. She has been actively working in the field of theatre, both on and off stage since 2001. Shruti has worked with eminent theatre practitioners such as Waman Kendre and B Jayashree as well as new generation directors like Quasar Thakore Padamsee and Imogen Butler-Cole (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, UK). Before joining Theatre Professionals as a Facilitator, she conducted workshops for children in Delhi and assisted in coaching children for the Trinity College Drama and Speech Certificate. She has also worked in the television and film media as an assistant director. Apart from her extensive theatre training, she is also trained in Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam.
Co-founder of Theatre Professionals, Tasneem Fatehi is a graduate in English Literature from St.Xavier’s College. She has ten years of experience teaching children the Trinity Programme for speech and drama, and has extensive hands-on experience and knowledge of Bombay's schools and teaching culture. Tasneem started at Theatre Professionals three years ago with administering our professional Actor Training Workshops, she is now responsible for overseeing and supervising the entire Drama in Schools Programme. When she's not busy seeing that every school's academic and teaching needs are being met, Tasneem finds time to step into the classroom and keep connected with what she loves best, teaching children.
Kalyani Hiwale has been teaching speech and drama to children for the past ten years. She recently got an IB certification from International School's Theatre Association to teach IB Theatre Arts. Before joining TPPL, Kalyani most recently worked at the Dhirubhai Ambani International School in Mumbai. A graduate of the National School of Drama, New Delhi, with a specialization in direction, Kalyani has come to understand that working with children is a purely magical and transforming process. When she is not out there influencing young minds, she runs her own theatre group, Actors’ Cult in Mumbai and has directed plays like The Night of January 16th (Ayn Rand) and Night Song (an adaptation of Ariel Dorfman’s ‘Death and the Maiden’). She has also applied her knowledge and skillsets to working with gender and sexuality through theatre and performance. In 2006, she received a grant from Arts Network Asia, Singapore for the project ‘My Sister, My Friend,’ exploring the lives of a eunuch from India and a transvestite from Philippines. She has also conducted several workshops to empower victims of domestic violence from Dharavi and children afflicted with HIV.
Timira Gupta has been working with children, education and the arts for the past four years. She is a certified ABT (Arts-based Therapy) practitioner and uses music, drama and visual art as tools for therapy with special needs children. She works with two special schools, Tulips and Saraswati Mandir, with children aged 4-18 years. She also works at St. Catherine of Siena, a residential centre for children at risk, as an ABT practitioner. Through Theatre Professionals, she facilitates drama at BMC schools commissioned by Vidya Foundation. She also works extensively with teachers, especially in pre-primary, on how to use the arts effectively in classrooms. When Timira's not in schools, she’s conducting circus-arts workshops where she teaches juggling, poi-spinning, clowning and more. She has been working with an Italian theatre company (Teatro per Caso) since 2006 on a project in Goa called the Laboratory of Smiles. The project aims at training institutionalised children in various circus arts, which finally culminates into a series of street performances.
'Words are all I have, the rest is quite expensive', remarks Gerish, while surveying the world around. Gerish is an M.A (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Mumbai. He has been determinedly pursuing theatre since 2006. He embarked on this magical expedition with Working Title's 'Once Upon A Tiger' and has acted in a number of other productions (Arabian Nights, Look Back in Anger, Tukra's dream, Three Short Plays by Ranjit Hoskote and the ongoing 'Kachra Tales'). Gerish has also directed children's productions such as Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, Charandas Chor by Habib Tanvir, The Wizard of Oz for the very progressive Shishuvan High School, which has been the training ground for his pedagogic foundation. He regards himself as a hungry theatre practitioner who is in quest of self-fulfillment through stage.
Kriti, a graduate from Delhi University, has been active in theatre since her college days. To pursue her passion, she trained at the Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts, New Delhi. She has been involved in various street plays on social awareness by WWF and educational programmes by NCERT. She also assisted Ashwath Bhatt as part of the Theatre Garage Project and co-directed a play for the Rivera Public School’s students. As a drama facilitator in the classroom, her energy is contagious and ever so filling. Apart from TPPL, she also works with The Artist Studio, Mumbai as drama instructor and coaches children for the Trinity College Drama and Speech Certificate.
With a background in interdisciplinary art and design, Neha Bhat is a theatre-arts practitioner with the primary motivation of finding an intersection between the field of theatre and the field of art.Having studied conceptual visual art in the interdisciplinary Sangama Lab at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, she took her interest in crossing boundaries to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor’s Interarts Department where she spent a year working as a performance artist and facilitating drama and art workshops in prison rehabilitation programmes. She has worked under queer performance artist Holly Hughes getting trained in creative independent monologue writing and solo-performance. Before moving to the DISP in Mumbai, she has worked as an actor in Bangalore and a spatial designer and mural-making facilitator for Ranga Shankara’s Aha! International Theatre for Children Festival .When she is not being a wayward cloud in her head, she is writing poetry, taking part in Theatre Forums and freelancing as a graphic designer.
Mehneer Sudan is a dance artiste working in the field of Contemporary and Jazz Dance for the past 13 years. Involved in contemporary developments in dance with emerging artistes, she is the co-founder of Dance Dialogues in Bombay, an initiative to build an engaging and supportive dance community in the city; and a founder member of The Gati Dance Forum, Delhi. Her professional career began at The Danceworx Performing Arts Academy. As part of the company she performed in different parts of India and attended workshops held by reputed artistes from America, Australia, Germany, France and England. She further trained for a year at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, UK. During her stay she choreographed and taught in York, Leeds and London.
Most recently her piece ‘Inside Bodies’, originally developed for The Gati Summer Dance Residency, 2011, was selected to compete for the first ever Prakriti Excellence in Contemporary Dance Awards held at Chennai. She has also performed at the IGNITE! Festival of Contemporary Dance, 2012 and 2010, Celebrate Bandra festival, Mumbai 2011, NSD Theatre festival, Delhi 2010, Kala Ghoda Festival, Mumbai 2010, The Park New Festival, Chennai 2009, Communal Harmony Day, Gujarat 2006.
In her contemporary work, she draws inspiration from dance-theatre, performance art, and improvisation. However she is interested in developing a personal movement vocabulary that defies classification.
She is also deeply interested in Dance in Education and in choreographing Annual/Graduation day productions. She hopes to develop a syllabus to help children understand where movement originates in the body, responding to stimuli including music, text, objects, and how to perform basic skills to express and communicate ideas, outside of any particular dance form. Until October 2009, she taught Dance and Movement at The British School, Delhi. Trained in Contemporary, Jazz, Modern, Ballet and Kathak, she is a visiting faculty member at the Terence Lewis Dance Academy and has conducted workshops at The National Centre for Performing Arts, Mumbai.
Sanyukta has been hopping on and off stage for the last 8 years now. What started off as something to kill time while in college transformed into a passion, while being a member of ‘Pandies’ Theatre Group – a Delhi based community theatre group. After working for three years in slums across Delhi, a few villages in the Ajmer district, a few schools and colleges in Delhi, she was awarded the Inlaks scholarship to pursue an MA in Theatre and Development Studies from the University of Leeds. Shortly after completing her degree she started work as an Arts Education Programme Coordinator in Aga Khan Development Network’s Humayun’s Tomb - Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti – Sunder Nursery Urban Renewal Initiative. She once again had the chance to learn theatre and play with some amazing practitioners and actors in 2010, when she went to New York as a part of Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts’ Visiting Actors’ Fellowship. She is continuously working with children and sometimes even with women and young adults to create plays that can bring about change.
Shilpi is a documentary theatre and film maker. She has been an actor and workshop facilitator with pandies' threatre - a Delhi based activist group for six years. Apart from acting for the stage and the street, she has been primarily working on creating theatre with children with a view to articulating trauma and creating self expression vis-a-vis issues of gender, class, caste and sexuality. She has been trained in Media and Cultural Studies at Tata Institute of Social Sciences and is currently a research scholar in Theatre and Performance Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Prasad is an Instructional Designer from the e-learning industry. He has been designing educational content for children for over 5 years. Designing Games for learning sparks his imagination. He believes that the ‘do’ nature of games lends itself to effective learning. Since 2011 he has been a part of the Gillo Theatre Repertory. He is a facilitator in Gillo’s Saturday Drama Club program and is now their designated Workshop Coordinator as well. He has performed in Gillo's Hanuman Ki Ramayan, Kyun-Kyun Ladki, Granny’s Sari and Taoos Chaman ki Myna. He is the co-designer of Jeejeebhoy and the Birds and also provides side-rhythm during the play. Prasad is also associated with Apni Shala, a group founded to engage children from low-income communities in life skills learning through school programs. He says, “I discovered the transformational power of drama over the last two years during my association with the vibrant Gillo Theatre Repertory and that has become my driving force in this endeavour of using drama in education. I want to make more and more individuals aware of it, especially children. It’s something I’d missed during my childhood.”
Jhelum studied dramatics for the last four years of high school in Toronto. While in college in Calcutta she worked on productions with Theatrician. Greatly interested in dramatics as a learning tool, she worked with differently abled children during her stay in Toronto and continued after her graduation as a workshop specialist working in several schools of Calcutta under the government funded theatre education programme. Literature is her other passion with a publication of poetry to her name.
Aarti has been an active theatre practitioner for the last 15 years mainly as an actor. A bit of a nomad she has lived in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore and has worked with theatre groups in all of these cities. She has worked with directors such as Vikram Kapadia, Rahul DaCunha, Gowri Ramnarayan, Shiv Subramanium, and Anupama Chandrasekhar, and has acted alongside theatre greats such as Seema Biswas, Dhritiman Chatterjee, PC Ram, and Vinay Pathak. Aarti has worked across mediums from voicing commercials, recording audio books, storytelling for children and adults, and acting in India’s first-ever internet series of “webisodes”. She has a post-graduate diploma in radio journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, and did the certificate course in Film Appreciation from the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune. She has worked as a features writer with ELLE magazine, associate editor with The Brew magazine for cinema, music and the arts, the content director of The Hindu’s first-ever bridal fashion magazine Bridal Mantra, and is currently Books Reviewer with the Outlook Group of publications. Aarti has been teaching children voice and movement through theatre workshops to children aged three and above. She also uses theatre to creatively problem-solve for corporates. She was Programme Coordinator for Ranga Shankara theatre in Bangalore, before turning instructor with Theatre Professionals.
Manjari is one of our youngest and brightest inductees into our Bangalore team of instructors this year. She has recently completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Integrated Communication Studies at Mount Carmel College, where she has passed each year with distinction. She is deeply passionate about the stage, and has had strong experience in both theatre and dance. As an active member of the college Dramatics Association, she has directed, written, acted and done stage design and lighting for college productions of multiple plays. She has formal training as a Bharatanatyam dancer, and is an integral part of the performing troupe of Mudrika Foundation for Indian Performing Arts where she has been teaching students of multiple age groups various aspects of stage-craft and performance. Manjari has found that as a performer, it is through interacting with children, listening to their ideas (which she recognizes as being “ inevitably more imaginative and insightful than adults”) and developing ways to channel their energy and enthusiasm, that she herself becomes a better dancer and actor.
Being a dancer who started training and performing at a very young, Soumya has known the stage for most of her life. Her journey as a dancer began with Indian classical dance, as she is trained in Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam, but it is her training in contemporary dance that drove her towards exploring form and movement on stage and in the classroom. Having worked with Terence Lewis Contemporary Dance Company, she worked with learners across all age groups. Her years of experience as a student and performer enabled her to transfer her learning into teaching. Her interest in literature and dramaturgy further helped her understand and explore possibilities of movement in theatre. She has been part of various contemporary experimental dance productions where drama and dance have seamlessly found the same language on stage. As a dancer and choreographer, she runs a dance collective called Two & Fro. Over the past five years her focus has been on developing movement as a tool to explore possibilities within education. She works as a creative movement specialist and dance teacher at Tridha, Steiner school, Mumbai, where her work is constantly focused on breaking the classroom format of dance learning, and creating a space where the emphasis is on facilitating movement. Her argument that movement intelligence is an area of great importance in a child’s development, spurs her enthusiasm in creating a stronger case for dance and theatre learning in the future of creative education.
An alumnus of St. Xavier’s college, Mumbai, she graduated in the subject of Psychology and Sociology. She pursued her interest in French and performing arts through her college years, winning many accolades in the same and a subsequent Diploma from the Alliance Francaise de Bombay. She is a trained actor from ‘Barry John Acting Studio’, has participated in many theatre workshops with reputed professionals, and facilitates ‘creative self-expression’ and ‘personal growth’ workshops for rural and tribal children in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. She has also worked with visually challenged students to help them enhance their language skills using the Creative Arts (drama, music and art). In her free time, she dabbles with writing concepts for plays and short films, works as a professional voice-over artist and has engaged in film work as an actor and assistant director for various children’s projects. Acting and Teaching, being her raison d’etre, she believes in following her passion while contributing meaningfully to society through her diverse skills.
Nidhi got her degree in Law from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. However, while she pursued Intellectual Property Rights at the Delhi High Court, it was through working at the Indian People’s Theatre Association during her time in university that she realized drama was her true passion. She is a trained actor from Barry John’s IMAGO academy, she has been involved with theatre as a writer, director and actor since school days and has worked with groups like IPTA, NATWA, iDream Theatre, Working Title. She has worked extensively with slum children in and around Chandni Chowk with Irshad Alam’s TALENT and with children from NAB (National Association for Blind) along with Antraal theatre group for several summer workshops and street theatre activities. In addition to this, Nidhi writes for comedy shows, directs plays for her theatre company, “New Brain Theater Volks” and trains in the actor’s craft.
Shaun Williams is a graduate in English Literature from St. Xavier's College Mumbai. His association with Theatre started off with his first play as a child in Hosi Vasunia's "The Happy Prince". After gap of many years he returned to the stage as an actor with QTP's first production "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail" followed by more than a decade of acting in several plays with Akvarious productions, films and TV commercials. He has worked in the area of corporate training conducting teambuilding workshops for adults as well as children, has been a sunday school teacher and has even assisted on the Annual School play for the Aditya Birla World Academy. He is currently part the improvisational comedy group 'Improv Comedy Mumbai'. "Shaun Sir" teaches at Cathedral, and often comes in to work with other trainers at ABWA, NSS, and BD Somani.
Neha Singh completed her Masters course in Child Development with a specialization in ‘Children with Special Needs’ from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. Prior to that, she was an active participant in college theatre productions and also worked as an assistant in the after school and summer workshops conducted by the Theatre in Education Company of the N.S.D.She then moved to Bombay, where, as Programme Manager at the Salaam Baalak Trust, an NGO that works with street and slum children, she facilitated workshops for Theatre in Education. She has worked with Pomegranate Workshop as a facilitator for their 'Reading Circle’ programme at the D.Y. Patil International School and with performance-based interactive story telling for the past two years for the ‘Blue Fun Umbrella’ company. She has acted, written and assisted in various theatre productions, including Sunil Shanbag’s ‘Walking to the Sun’ and Manav Kaul’s various theatre and film projects. Neha has also made two short films and is currently awaiting the release of her book for children being published by Karadi Tales.
Jessica Nicholas is the co-founder of SilverJay Productions, a Melbourne based theatre company that teaches children to create theatre. Her work there gave her extensive experience in developing, instructing and directing beginners, children and professional performers in dance and movement for the stage. By training, Jessica is a professional dancer, choreographer and movement specialist with over ten years experience in performing and choreographing a variety of dance styles including Jazz Ballet, Lyrical and Musical Theatre.
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Share your love for theatre, theatre games, and all your ideas on Acting, Storytelling and Performance with children, get paid to do it and still have all the time in the world to do what you love most- theatre.
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