Bygone tales from the bylanes of Bengaluru

In a documentary theatre performance,Anuja Ghosalkar is getting together a group of children to record the history of the quaint Cooke Town neighbourhood

Published: 14th May 2018 11:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2018 02:57 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU:Anuja Ghosalkar, founder of Dramaqueen, has a keen interest in documenting history. A few years ago, she attempted a semi-fictionalised ‘documentary’ theatre performance, Lady Anandi,  to take a look at what what it took for her great grandfather to impersonate a female character; this time, she’s back with a documentary theatre performance to record the quaint Cooke Town neighbourhood in a programme titled ‘Walking Around’. While her first,  a one-woman show was suitable for adults, this time she’s roping in children for the performance.

"Children will document the Cooke Town neighbourhood in whatever way they please. If they find seniors who have lived in the locality for a long time, they can stop and talk to them about their lives, music, songs, archives recipes, and the changing landscape. A street that has an interesting story behind it, an old bungalow with ancient architecture can be sketched or photographed by them. It is a collage of various art forms. Who knows what will come out of these?," wonders Anuja, who works with children at her documentary theatre firm, a research-based form of theatre that documents reality.

Anuja believes that this form is a live form of storytelling over conventional plays, which often have minimal audience participation. She first experimented with this form of performance art in Lady Anandi, where she impersonated her great grandfather, who himself was a female impersonator himself, in 19th century Marathi theatre. In her solo show, she projected his images on her body.

The week-long workshop culminates in a performance by the children. This could be projections, sketches, songs – depending on what they document. “History or memory is valid and important especially in times when "a right wing, fascist government controls the state's historical narrative,” she says, adding, “Preserving our personal history is just as important as public documents and archives.”  

By choosing children for this activity, Anuja is hoping for an honest approach and opinion of what they see. “Unlike adults, they don’t come with preconceived notions. As adults, we may walk by the same old bungalow every day and see it with jaded eyes. Children, however, see them with wonder. While performing, they can embellish their findings with fiction," she explains.

The workshop can accommodate 15- 18 children, and is open to those above the age of nine. It’s scheduled between May 14 and May 19, at Lightroom Bookstore, Cooke Town.The location of the final performance on Saturday, will be decided based on the content.Through the week, the children will accompany her to the bylanes between 10:30 am and 1 pm. The fee is `4,000.

To register, call on 080-25460466 or e-mail to


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