US scholar studies Natrang’s theatre work

Excelsior Correspondent

Devika Ranjan, a scholar from Washington DC conducting a theatre exercise at Natrang studio theatre in Jammu.
Devika Ranjan, a scholar from Washington DC conducting a theatre exercise at Natrang studio theatre in Jammu.

JAMMU, June 6: Devika Ranjan, a scholar from Washington DC has come all way to Natrang Jammu to study the work of  Natrang and its director Balwant Thakur under a grant award programme of  the Georgetown University USA.
Outstanding work done by Natrang that too in a lesser known place on globe like Jammu, has been the main attraction of the scholar who exclusively came to India to interact closely the entire work process and the approaches evolved by Natrang during its last 32 years of creative quests. Interestingly, the work of Natrang and it’s director  has got the global significance because of its uniqueness both in terms of content and form.
While trying to deeply understand the working methodology of  Natrang, Devika also conducted a workshop with young actors of  Natrang here today at Natrang Studio Theatre.    Prominent among those who attended the workshop included   Mohd Yaseen, Mahikshit Singh, Shivam Singh, Kritika Singh Bhau, Rshba Raina, Sanchita Dubey, Sachin Saini and Gauri Thakur.
Devika,  a US citizen with Indian origin currently lives in Boston. As a visiting scholar from the United States, she is researching Natrang’s use of theatre in community engagement. She studies at Georgetown University’s School of  Foreign Service, Washington DC where she focuses on “Human Rights, Culture, and Communication.”
Devika has a strong theatrical background in acting at both a community and university level. She has directed two full-length plays, devised a work based on ethnographic poetry, and written a one-act play.
Interested in art in post-conflict zones, Devika came to study Natrang because of its focus on regional peace and heritage preservation. She hopes to explore the intersection of art and identity.  She witnessed the globally acclaimed Dogri play “Bawa Jitto” staged  at Aghar Jitto Mela, led a workshop with the Natrang actors based on improvisation and movement exercises, and studied  Balwant Thakur’s innovative work and his art of assimilation with regional performing art traditions.
Expressing great joy about the visit of US scholar, Mr Balwant said that her research visit and interactions for over a period of about 15 days will also enrich the experience of Natrang actors and hoped that she will also take along lot of creative experiences and will become the ambassador of  Natrang’s work in USA.