An opera for a cause
A blend of music, theatre and performance seek to understand the issues faced by today’s youth
A choral music project led by the Scottish Opera Company, Scotland, is being conceived by young people from across the Commonwealth countries to be presented in celebration of the 2014 Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow. Participants from India, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Botswana will be involved. The Tehelka Foundation is the Indian partner for the project. A delegation from Scotland, consisting of the Minister of Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop visited Bluebells International School, New Delhi, on Tuesday 30 October. They also showcased short videos of choir projects conducted by the Scottish Opera Company in China, Scotland and Botswana. Over the next week, they will be conducting arts in education workshops with children, artists and teachers.
Commenting on the significance of the project, Hyslop said, “The Scottish Government is committed to increasing learning through arts and culture, and I believe that by unlocking the creative potential of our young people across the world, we teach them to be innovative, confident, responsible and good global citizens. I am in no doubt that this project will help form new friendships across the Commonwealth nations.”
The Tehelka Foundations ‘Yuva Ekta Manch’ on Tuesday showcased a play on the occasion titled “Finding Me”. Yuva Ekta Manch is a project run by The Tehelka Foundation, a not for profit trust. Comprising a cast of 18 performers, the play addressed issues of identity and a search for the self that today’s youth often struggle with. The participants consisted of school and college students aged between 14 and 23 years. While some of them were students at Bluebells International School, others were college students, members of the Salaam Baalak Trust, and The Tehelka Foundation. The Salaam Baalak Trust works towards providing a secure future for homeless children.
“Finding Me” was a culmination of a rigorous two-month workshop, which focused on understanding issues of identity that is faced by young people in India. The issues ranged from substance abuse, peer pressure, economic compulsions that lead to juvenile crimes to abusive relationships. Lalit, 16, who has been with the Salam Baalak Trust for the past eight years after he lost his parents said, “What I am taking away from this workshop is the importance of self respect. Some day I hope to become an actor.”
The performance was interspersed with music by Anubhuti Sharma and a cappella band SCORE. Explaining the motivation behind their participation, Bhanu Sharma from SCORE said, “We saw the play and were interested to get involved. It gave us an opportunity to add to what was already there. And not just with any music, but music we could relate to.”
Reflecting on his experience of the workshop, Vishal, 17, from Salaam Baalak Trust said, “It was an opportunity for me to engage with the idea of being human. It made us understand consequences of substance abuse, sensitivity towards disability and enabled us to deal with peer pressure.”
“I am particularly pleased to have met with some of the young people in Delhi who are taking part in this project and I look forward to welcoming them to visit Scotland during the Commonwealth games in 2014,” said Hyslop.
Puneeta Roy, Founder Trustee and Executive Director of The Tehelka Foundation said, “What excites me about this project is that it offers new opportunities to explore our 'common wealth' — to actually be able to weave a tapestry that will be enriched by the tradition and culture of six different countries, creating a platform that would give the marginalised as much space and respect as it would to other sections of society.”