Monday, December 7, 2009

2009 Campaign PR (2/12 & 3/12):Exploring Gender Violence through theatre

For some 20 odd girls from Queen Mary’s College, Wednesday and Thursday have been about rediscovering their bodies, differentiating male gaze and societal gaze from what they really want, and in general dabbling in theatre with facilitators Mangai, Sumathi and Srijith from the Marappachi Trust.

“The workshop was largely about tapping collective experience, and providing a space for perceptions on body,” said Mangai. Exercises included role plays, body warm-ups, and even mock fashion shows. It was learning by doing, as the girls themselves realised after some exercises that it was largely patriarchal laws that governed many rules about the female body.

Even puppetry, recitation, story telling and monologues were used to get some key points across on issues like dowry and skin colour. The workshop culmininated on Thursday evening, as the girls split into groups and presented three sketches on various facets of violence against women, including female infanticide and forced marriage. That, “Women’s rights is Human rights” was the take home message at the end of the workshop.

The two-day workshop was part of the 16 Days Campaign against Gender Violence organised by Prajnya, a Chennai-based centre for public education, networking and research. “This year, many of our programmes revolve around popular art forms like theatre, poetry and music,” said Anupama Srinivasan, Campaign Coordinator, Prajnya.

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