Do you have a taste for theatrics or a flair for the dramatic? If yes, then an acting career could be your destiny. Patricia Mascarenhas tells you how to get there
The more our education system develops, the more it remains the same. At least, the problems of theatre training in India do. Despite Mumbai being the hub of theatre activity, the most significant of its challenges are finding institutions that provide formal drama training. In an effort to keep the art alive through formal training, the University of Mumbai is offering a two-year full-time post graduate degree course from the Academy of Theatre Arts. “This course is an integrated course based on the structures of the world renowned theatre training schools as well as rich traditional and modern theatre training practices of India,” says Milind Inamdar, assistant professor, Academy of Theatre Arts.
A degree in drama won't automatically guarantee you a place in the limelight, but it will certainly give you a direction. The syllabus which attaches a 40:60 ratio importance to theory and practicals will cover theatre techniques, dramatic literature, theatre history, play criticism, theatre management and art administration, among others. “It provides aspirants an understanding about acting, production, direction, stagecraft, play writing, and theatre criticism,” informs Inamdar.
The admission procedure for 2014-15 has started and graduates from any discipline can apply for the Master of Theatre Arts course. Each year's batch has not more than 25 students. “Admissions are done on the basis of performance and written test, workshops, interview and auditions,” explains Inamdar.
Some of the visiting faculty include filmmakers and theatre personalities such as Govind Namdev, Himani Shivpuri and Vijay Kenkre, which gives students a first hand experience with professionals. “We had three major productions in two years which were open for audience and one scene work and 15 class room productions, directed and performed by students. The major productions were directed by renowned directors,” informs Inamdar.
After completion of course students can go for research or give the NET exam to be eligible for theatre teaching or work in experimental and professional theatre, television serials and films.
This course not only helps create an avenue of self employment for students but also benefits the cultural arena of the city by providing it with suitably trained persons in the field of theatre arts and dramatics.
“It was a great feeling to be a part of the Academy as it gave us the freedom to do our work they way we liked. This means that we were allowed to direct our plays from our own point of view,” says Pushkar Sarad, who took the course last year. Another student, Apurva Chaudhary, agrees, “I now know that practical training needs a strong theory backing, for example if you are writing a period drama you need to know the history behind it. This is a stepping stone for all of us,” she concludes.