Our Drama in School Trainers
Sananda Mukhopadhyaya is the Programme Head of Drama In Schools Programme. Working in the field of drama and theatre-education for the last seven 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.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
Manjiri holds a Master's degree in electronic media from the University of Mumbai. She has been actively involved in the field of theatre for the past three years. She believes in continually honing her skills as a theatre practitioner, to be able to bring this learning into her classroom. For this purpose, she has participated in various workshops conducted by eminent theatre directors like Waman Kendre, Anirudhha Khutwad, Suresh Khare and many others. Besides this, she has also completed a degree in Documentary filmmaking from SNDT University and when not working with kids, she freelances as a documentary film- maker.
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.
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.
Consultant and DISP Instructor Trainer
Roo Jhala was the founding trainer for the DISP programme when it first started at BIS. Since then she has been a constant source of support and consultation to our growth as a team. Her practical knowledge of working with children and child development is extensive. Tambourine Theatre, the company she founded in 2004 with Liam McLaughlin has provided training to all our incoming trainers and has conducted workshops for teachers at our schools. In addition Tambourine theatre maintains regular contact with our our trainers, providing refresher and reflection workshops to deepen their understanding of utilizing theatre excercises and rehearsal techniques in the context of children.
Roo Jhala is an English literature graduate from the Sophia College Mumbai, she trained as an actor at the Oxford School of Drama and then went on to graduate in 2003 as their first student director. Tambourine Theatre company's vision is to make theatre accessible to amateurs and professionals, students and teachers in the context of theatre in education. Tambourine runs workshops throughout the year that cater to all ages at basic, intermediary and advanced levels. Roo has also conducted numerous theatre in education workshops for school teachers.
She has continually been active in conducting theatre workshops for Wipro, the Ranga Shankara Theatre, Sophia College, Mumbai, Working Title, Aum Yash Kendra (Affiliated to Trinity College London), Lily Goenka (for the children of Bombay Scottish and Hiranandani school in Powai), Bombay International School, American School, Bombay, J.B.Petit School, Kodaikanal International School, New Era School, St. Joseph’s School, Mt. Abu and Srirajni School, Gujarat.
Additionally she has devised and directed many plays for various institutions over the years, such as Shakespeare’s Women, Shakespeare off the shelf for Ajit Bhavan’s School (Jodhpur) and Shakespeare at the Cathedral: His work in Pieces for the Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai, to mention but a few of the many theatre projects she has done with children.
Maya Krishna Rao
Maya Krishna Rao is an eminent theatre actor/director. Since earning her master’s degree in Theatre Arts from Leeds University, England in 1983, she has been actively involved in inculcating theatre as a tool to develop a holistic education system. Maya Krishna Rao has conceived and executed various participatory programmes for children for the National School of Drama Theatre-in Education. All these programmes have toured across several schools in Delhi and beyond. She formulated the drama syllabus for B.El.Ed (Bachelor in Elementary Education), Delhi University, 2008 as well as for classes I – XII, NCERT (National Council for Educational Resources and Training, Delhi) as a member of its drafting committee of 2007. She believes that drama in education means bringing slices of the world outside into the classroom. In her pursuit of this idea, Maya Rao co-devised, performed and toured theatre shows called ‘Story Spinners’ and ‘Piece At Any Price’ as a member of Perspectives Theatre Company, Nottingham, England, to different parts of England, Nottingham, England. As a part of the Leeds Playhouse TIE Company, she devised and performed in ‘Heiretikos, Or The One Who Chooses’, Leeds (1983) and in ‘Pow-Wow’, Leeds, England (1982). She has conducted teacher-training workshops for various schools and colleges including Air Force, St.Mary’s, Shri Ram, Blue Bells, Delhi Public School and other teacher training institutions. She recently conducted an intensive drama facilitators’ workshop for our instructors at TPPL, where she essentially focused on the ‘role’ of the instructor in the classroom. She continues to be an important part of our team’s growth process.
Join our team
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.
If you want to grow with us, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org