The Community Box

The Community Box, is a series of online workshops on indigenous performing art forms, facilitated by traditional artistes from across India.
Conducted under the aegis of the #forartistsandarts initiative, all proceeds from these workshops will help us to continue supporting these artistes, their art forms and communities in these tough times.
These workshops have been brought to you by Still Space Theatre and The SuperGeographics ensemble theatre.

ontact us at: +91-7829765688 / +91-9986994836 / [email protected]

During the 2 hour session, participants will:
- Get introduced to some of the insights from the art form, & its tradition, and the creative practice of the key artist
- Interact with activities around some key elements of the art form
- View a performance demonstration by the artist
- Artist’s approach to their creative process

Community Box: Baul Music

Artist:: Dipannita Acharya (Baul anuragi)
Volunteer supporting: Anshulika Kapoor
Conducted in English and songs in Bangla

14th Aug 7-9PM IST | Online

Bauls are the wandering mystic minstrels of undivided Bengal. They gained popularity in the so called society when they mystically sang and danced around, propagating the truth of life. 
Though Baul Music goes beyond Folk Music and becomes a way of life, talking about deep philosophies in simple language that contains many layers, and it is called twilight language or “sandhya bhasha”.

Dipannita Acharya is a prolific artist in the genre of folk music. However, she identifies herself and her music as “Baul Anuragi” and “Bhav Sangeet” respectively. Over the years, she has marvelled the audiences with a plethora of regional folk songs, especially those from Bengal, Assam, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Community Box: Thali ki Ramayan

Facilitator Name: Dinesh Chandra
Volunteer supporting: Ashu Yadav
Conducted in Hindi with live translation by volunteer

21st Aug 7-9PM IST | Online

Thali Ki Ramayan is a folk singing form in Braj Region of west UP. Singers sing the stories from Ramayan with their own interpretations and engaging Community for brotherhood and The century old Art has been used for treating people from mental disorders and performed whole night during snake biting to engage community awaking for the sufferer. Its unique and ultra sounds of it's instruments with high energy singing amuse you and interpretation of Ramayan stories might amazed you.

A farmer from a small village of Etah in UP, Dinesh Chandra is singing this folk since his childhood, having more than 30 years of stage performance experience of the Art, he is now teaching the young generations to carry forward the Thali Ki Ramayan. He writes the Ramayan for folk singing and leading his team for performances across competitions. His only dream is to keep this dying art alive and make mortal.

Community Box: Lavani Dance

Facilitator Name: Anil Hankare
Volunteer supporting: Janhavi Phansalkar
Conducted in Marathi with live translation by volunteer

22nd Aug 7-9PM IST | Online

Lavani is a traditional folk genre of music popular in Maharashtra. It dates back to the 17th century and came into prominence during the Peshawa rule. It is known for its powerful rhythm, and more particularly, the adaakaari (refers to striking facial expressions and movements as part of the dance performance). The word Lavani is derived from the word Lavanya which means beauty. Traditionally, this genre connects to varied subject matters; the most popular being the ‘shringarik’ (romantic) lavani, but also includes ‘nirguni’ (spiritual) poetry and several compositions dealing with social issues. There are different types of lavani songs, varying in subject matter or tempo. The dancers wear the traditional 9 yard sarees, special jewellery and elaborate make-up for their performance. The lavani dance is presented by women as well as men.

Anil Hankare started his training in lavani dance at the age of 14, when a newspaper advertisement by the Usankar Ballet Unit caught his interest. He had no background in dance whatsoever. However, he surprised everybody by his prodigious talent. His guru had asked him to learn three dance forms in one year — young Anil ji learnt 5 dance forms in one month! He began his career dancing as a woman named ‘Madhu’, and nobody knew about his real identity! He reached the heights of popularity through his ‘secret’ role as Madhu. He has curated a program called ‘Bin Baykancha Tamasha’ (Lavani without Women), in which he encouraged several men to come forward as Lavani dancers, thereby breaking the gender-barrier. He has performed at several prestigious platforms in India and has also toured in Germany.

Community Box: Behrupiya Art

Facilitator Name: Akram Khan Bahurupiya
Volunteer supporting: Sajan Sankaran
Conducted in Hindi with live translation by volunteer

27th Aug, Fri, 7-9PM IST | Online

An ancient art form, the Bahurupiya tradition is traditionally considered to have been initiated by Narada Muni. A performance tradition sustained by families through their dedicated service, the presentation involves adopting a character, and using appearance along with a dramatised conversational storytelling form to enchant and entertain the audiences. It was especially popular during the time of prince states in Rajasthan and other parts of India, and the artists continue using their craft to entertain audiences across various local community gatherings and events.

Akram Khan Bahurupiya hails from a family of seven generations of Bahurupiya artists. His father, who taught him the craft was Shri Subrati Bahurupiya, a renowned doyen of the craft. Akram Khan has been recognised for his high level of craft work by numerous government and private cultural forums, and has dedicated himself completely to the preservation and propagation of his tradition. He has performed with his father and brothers at the biggest platforms across the country. 

Community Box: Putul Nach (Puppetry) 

Facilitator Name: Prabir Sinha
Volunteer supporting: Dr. Shatarupa Bhattacharya
Conducted in Bangla live translated by volunteer

29th Aug 7-9PM IST | Online

Folk Puppetry in West Bengal is called Putul Naach
Putul is a word that describes both a doll and a puppet in Bengali while Naach means Dance. There are references to puppetry in the medieval folk ballads of undivided Bengal. Traditional forms of puppetry found in West Bengal are rod (Dang), glove (Beni or Bene) and string (Taar or Shuto). Both rod and glove puppets are indigenous to Bengal while string puppetry was an import. 

Prabir Sinha: The theatre group that I am a part of is Sundarban Puppet Theatre Group, and I have been practising puppetry for the last 11 years. I have experience working with different kinds of puppetry - Rod puppet, Shadow Puppet, String Puppet, and Gloves Puppet. I have learnt puppetry from Suresh Dutta, who was awarded the Padmashri in 2009 and founded Calcutta Puppet Theatre. I have had the opportunity of showing my puppetry skills in various parts of the country. I have also conducted puppetry workshops in schools and colleges like the Birla School. Apart from that, my puppetry work has been shown on Doordarshan TV and have collaborated with numerous Bangla theatre groups. For the last one year, I have been getting trained on Hand Shadowgraphy under Drew Colby from London. I was fortunate enough to perform Shadow Puppetry at the Sangeet Natak Academy in New Delhi. 

Story so far!

Forartistsandarts started as a immediate response, is a volunteering initiative by Still Space Theatre to support artists affected by the pandemic since the beginning of lockdown. So far 1000+ artists have been supported with rations, medicines, monthly income, emergency funds & vaccinations. Managed & run by Still Space Theatre, India with support from individuals & organizations.

In continuation of the support work, The Community Box aims to introduce ongoing changes in the arts eco-system to artists practicing traditional arts towards integrated artistic models. This is a a stepping stone for the initiative to continue engagement with artists from rural & tribal regions exchanging skills & knowledge with volunteers would benefit the artists and arts eco-system.

Join us for the community box! Artists and non-artists are welcome to participate or observe. Of course, all are welcome to donate to ensure equity for regional artists and preserve these practices for coming generations.

Read More