Thespo, a prominent youth theatre festival in India seeks crowdfunding for its upcoming edition...Support young people in the theatre...

November 11, 2016 3:54:40 PM IST
MTG editorial

Born in 1999, Thespo began as an initiative to showcase and celebrate some of the best youth theatre in India with an evening of 3 one-act plays. It has now grown to be a year round movement with workshops & performances, that eventually culminates in a week-long youth theatre festival every December in Bombay.

Every year, scores of participants under the age of 25 and groups from across the world register their plays. After a thorough screening process, a select few number of these full-length productions and short performances are given the stage to perform at the festival in Bombay. The festival offers several other opportunities for theatre enthusiasts - volunteering for the festival, writing for or designing its bimonthly e-zine called Thespo Ink.

Another important aspect of the festival has been workshops, collaborations & commissioned pieces. Several senior and even young theatre practitioners work with the youth to create new work. In the past editions of the festival, artists have come from Brazil, Canada, Israel, Shanghai, Sri Lanka, the UK and the USA.

This year orientation meetings have been conducted in 10 cities and registrations have been received from 22 cities including Amritsar, Nashik, Amravati, Thrissur, Varanasi, Aligarh, Dharampur, Chennai and Udupi.

A seven day festival has been planned this year from the 12th to 18th December. Plans include a number of international collaborations, with artists coming from the UK and Australia and Canada. The focus this year, is to create better training opportunities during the festival for young enthusiasts to take advantage of.

To achieve the festival's goals of creating a better theatre, the festival desires a little help from you. There is hope that the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation will help the festival and support the celebration of youth theatre in the coming years, by becoming a 'Friends of Thespo.'

Why Crowdfunding:
Thespo has been always been a crowd-funded movement as it struggled to find corporate support. The festivals believes in individuals to support the movement by creating a community of theatre lovers and hence 'Friends of Thespo'. Last year, at Thespo 17 (2015), it was the first time that the festival went online with their campaign on Wishberry. It helped the festival communicate better with its friends and gave them the opportunity to reach out to newer audiences.

Risks associated with the project
All the work that team Thespo puts in, is for quality. The training provided through workshops, mentorship and feedback sessions is to nurture young talent and open newer avenues for the future of theatre. The basic requirements to provide a wholesome environment and experience for the same will be compromised upon and will affect the overall quality of the festival.

What if the festival does not get the money
If the festival does not raise the required money, it will have to cut down. The efforts that it wants to put into building a young and vibrant youth theatre community will be watered down. It therefore relies on whatever aid it can receive.

To know more about Thespo's plans this year, visit their Wishberry page by clicking here.

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