One of the most famous theatre groups in Chennai, Crea-Shakthi, is making waves in the city as more people are enrolling themselves to the profound craft through the initiative introduced by them called ‘Spotlight’.
In March 2012, Crea-shakthi began as an idea between seven friends and artistes who had a finance and commerce background with a collective passion for taking the craft of theatre to greater heights, specifically in Chennai. As the director of the organisation, Dushyanth said, “In less than two years, it has evolved into a theatre institution, under which it operates a repertory theatre production company, international standard theatre training centers for youngsters across the city of Chennai, theatre-based learning solutions and consultancy provided to schools, colleges, corporates and curators of the largest youth theatre festival in the country, besides managing a stand-up ‘comedy wing’.”
They started their initiative called ‘Spotlight’ with the motive of passing on the art to the next generation. This initiative is a 45-day intensive workshop cum production schedule between May and June every year which has all elements of stage covered by experts from the institution, aiming to develop skills involved in theatrics like acting and expressionism. In the last season of Spotlight, participants were trained by experts including veterans in the field like PC Ramakrishna of Madras Players and Pritham Chakravarthy who conducted various workshops in association with Crea-Shakthi. On the final day of the workshop, all participants are required to play a part in a theatrical production, which is attended by various luminaries in the cinema and theatre fields.
Participants who wish to go further are made members and have great opportunities to meet established luminaries and procure the chance to further their career in the entertainment field.
This workshop not only provides an opportunity for interested persons to enter interesting fields but also for anyone who wishes to develop certain talents like public speaking or self-confidence.
Speaking to DC, a freelance theatre actor with the troop, Bala Suresh said, “Spotlight is all about taking fresh actors by training them and making them good on stage. They pick up classic work for the newcomers by training them without any auditions with a bunch of extremely friendly and talented professionals in the field. “I was part of the first Spotlight initiative in 2015 and it gave me the best experience as I learnt the art of physical drama, acting, mastering my body language and some play writing as well. Being a freelancer, I can say that theatre hasn’t developed in Chennai unlike other cities and there are about five to six known theatre troops. But unlike acting in films, theatre is still at a state of being a hobby and is easily approachable, seeming to be the right kind of crowd to fit into,” he had also added.
“Theatre as a craft in Chennai is a growing field with people still trying to find their identity and voice. Standards can be set only by the audience and their ever changing tastes and preferences. We are a fairly new organisation in the world of theatre and we have a tie up with the Trinity College in London where we deploy members to train children by conducting examinations”, said Dushyanth.
According to another member, “We inculcate theatre in various colleges of Chennai as a part of their curriculum. Different productions and genres are being set up including the successful show conducted this year called ‘Dolls’, a monologue expressing women’s individual issues. It was first conducted in Chennai and the second round in Bengaluru. ‘Kirukku Nagaram Express’ directed by Karthik A also talks about the importance of mental health and it’s attributing factors.”
“Various unforgettable yesteryear stars like M.G.Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan have been brought up through theatre and have obtained immense success in acting and other art forms through their training in theatrics and with that inspiration Crea-Shakthi tries a lot of concepts starting with humorous English plays written by people all over the world. ‘Bonding with Ruskin’ (adaptation of Ruskin Bond stories) was a play conducted by connecting all the stories and making a logical connection,” one of the playwrights said.
“Culturally, theatre is developing” but Bala also said, “as a business, theatre is not huge at present and is still developing. Not all groups provide full time employment for their members and only Crea-Shakthi provides full time employment and that must tell something as it’s not a very financially reliable pursuit at the moment.”
The institute conducts its plays at The Egmore museum theatre, the Music academy mini hall and recently most of their plays are being conducted at Chettinad Hari Shree Vidyalam School in RA Puram. The Spotlight Initiative will reveal a new theme this December with more exciting stories and workshops.
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