This collaboration was with a very special organization, Shanti Bhavan. It is a school that provides food, accommodation and a high quality education to children without resources from different parts of India.
This organization allows many families to break the chain of poverty thanks to the fact that their children develop exceptional skills and achieve a high quality complete education. Without exaggeration, there is a grand piano in the meeting area, and it is normal that when you pass by there you will find a student playing a piece by Mozart or Ludovico Einaudi … a pleasure for sensitivity.
The organization also provides higher education, sponsors students to go to the university that most motivates them, in India or anywhere in the world. It is a pleasure to see how they stimulate and how they enhance the abilities of the students to the fullest. They hold daily assemblies to analyze the news of the day, locally and internationally.
They perform a multitude of artistic experiences, in addition to the compulsory subjects of each course. They are champions in local soccer leagues. So in this school the boys and girls get one of the most complete educations that I have seen, and from a close and loving relationship.
We contacted them thanks to some nice professors and American theater producers that we met at the Calcutta train station. They had been teaching as volunteers in this school and had had a fantastic experience. So after several emails we managed to square the agendas to be able to share our experiences as clowns with them !!
The school sent a car to pick us up from Bangalore, and after 2 hours on internal roads, between villages and villages, we arrived at the large farm of the Shanti Bhavan school. The enclosure was very big, full of field, at the end of the road that crossed it was the school and the residences. We were welcomed by two students, who would be responsible for a guided tour of the school and surroundings.
They left us impressed, the school is great, and they are super friendly, we enjoyed that moment with jokes and sharing mutual information. They showed us our room, simple but clean, perfect for us. They left us there to rest and we went to the assembly room a few hours later.
In the assembly we were able to meet all the students, teachers and volunteers. We listen to the news reported by the students themselves, with a space for questions and debate. After the chorus represented a couple of songs and finally there was a series of news from the teachers and they introduced us giving us space to describe who we are and what we do. Afterwards we were able to meet Ayesha, one of the school leaders, and she informed us of the time we had available. In total we did 4 workshops and 2 performances in the two days we were there.
The first workshop was with the 9th grade class, with 15 years. We went to the theater classroom, a perfect space to learn, the parquet floor and curtain. The students started arriving, which ended up being 13, and we started because we only had 1 hour and 20 minutes.
With the warm-up we got the group to concentrate, and each time they were more motivated. With the staging exercises we laughed for a while, they enjoyed, played and shared with us all their skills. In the end they did not want to go! they asked us to do more exercises, but they had to go to the next class … A joy of people …
We enjoyed the food in the dining room with the whole school. The 12th grade students asked us to sit at their table … they did not stop explaining jokes … some good ones not so much, but you could tell they were stimulated students, curious and eager to eat the world !!!
The next workshop was with the 11th grade class. 14 students attended, and we repeated the dynamics of the previous workshop, reducing the warm-up so as not to be so fair in the final dynamic. Grade 11 is 16 years old, so they already had a good conscience of what they did and what they expressed. They were very motivated, and they took it very seriously. It was a pleasure to see them giving their all, striving to express and share with us … a taste …
At night we had another assembly, but this time we were part of the entertainment … we acted !!! The occasion was witnessed by an old friend of the founder of the school, so the audience was distributed in a somewhat strange way, in the central area the adults and on the sides the students were distributed … And at the time the recital ended of piano … we left!
With an audience of about 100 people, it was not hard to get the first laughs … especially when we made the teachers leave as “volunteers” … the students broke up !!
The whole show was a pleasure, the people flowed and shared with us, all together, without public or actors, in everything they followed us and we followed … In the end, there was applause and mutual thanks. But the night did not end there, and we joined the audience present to enjoy the skills of the students.
The next day we had two more workshops, with those of grade 7 (of 13 years) and those of grade 5 (of 11 years). Attended 12 and 15 students respectively. Although in this case the boys and girls were younger, the desire was not minor. The game was different, the motivations varied, but they all flowed with us to express a bit of their art, their innate aptitudes, their desire to learn and express. We were surprised by their endless motivation, how they let themselves be surprised and how they shared their concerns with us. We feel good, perceiving the best of what we do, sharing, and providing a different point of view, together.
Finally, Ayesha asked us if we could repeat the show for the little ones, since the previous night they had not been able to attend, and we accepted with pleasure. The show was made in the courtyard. They gave us the signal that everyone was in their place, and we started !!!!
We went out and the children started to laugh. Some were perplexed, others scared, but most laughed just to see the clowns. The whole show went on fantastically, we all shared the moment, and the little ones, already more confident, left as volunteers even without asking! hehehehe …
They were very cute, with smiling faces, enjoying that special moment, the color of the smiles, the road we traveled together … When we finished, nobody moved, everyone wanted more! but we had acted in full sun and we were melting … So we went to the room to change.
And the end came, after two incredible days in this fantastic school, we said goodbye to the children, the teachers and the volunteers. Ajit, the director of operations, and Ayesha thanked us for the visit and Ayesha accompanied us to the car that would take us to the Bangalore train station. We already miss you, and we are left wanting to return, to share much more with such wonderful children, in this school so rich in sensations and education. See you soon!!!!!