In a typical year, BLT’s plays would usually be a mix of:
History of Ideas Programme
One workshop production to explore a new script, playwright or form.
Many years ago BLT adopted a resolution in an Annual General Meeting to maintain its character as Community Theatre by dedicating at least one production every year to a charity of repute. All the proceeds from the performances would be used to support the programmes of the chosen charity. Since 2010, that commitment has developed into a long-term partnership with a specific charity that works with disadvantaged children. Currently this partnership is with the Association for the Mentally Challenged. The idea of building a partnership with a charity around the annual fundraiser has served the twin purposes of greater visibility for the charity, inviting greater public participation as well, and continuity in the image of the annual production. In addition to the funds generated the theatre event creates public awareness about the work of the charity organisation. The first such partnership for four years was with CRY (Child Relief and You, subsequently renamed Child Rights and You) Later there was a. partnership with Dream a Dream for three years. The annual fundraising production serves as a convergence of four different streams of institutionalised activity within BLT:
- Our commitment to an annual production for a charity partner.
- Our commitment to an annual major production of a children’s play, as part of the Children’s Theatre programme.
- Our annual summer training workshop for newcomers to the theatre, which you can read about in our Training & Workshops.
- Our play development programme
Children’s Theatre Programme
Through its considerable resources BLT provides various kinds of help to theatre projects in colleges, schools, clubs and other institutions. BLT has had a long commitment to children’s theatre. As far back as 1966 the group produced the original script of The Ungrateful Man, a tale from the Panchatantra Another avenue for engaging children has been BLT’s dedicated annual production for a charity of repute. The productions chosen have invariably been of special appeal to children. More recently, BLT has built a partnership with a reputed NGO, the Association for the Mentally Challenged. The key features of such partnerships have been:
Original scripts developed within BLT.
Interactive plays to engage children as meaningfully as possible.
Long run of shows (about 16 to 18) to reach as large a number as possible across the city.
All the plays in the annual series are original scripts developed within BLT. The annual production has earned itself a huge “brand equity”, with schools in Bangalore and the general public looking forward to the announcement of the production. We do 16 to 18 shows at a stretch, with block bookings for schools in the mornings and shows for the public in the evenings. There are often requests for additional performances in other venues.
Story Telling Theatre
In 2014, we initiated a new programme called Storytelling Theatre. The main objective of the programme was to take good quality theatre to more people in more locations, rather than people having to come to a hall to see our plays. In this format, an entire play is presented typically by two actors, sometimes even one. With no elaborate sets and costumes, the actors skilfully switch between different roles and create the scenes. That coupled with the imagination of the audience, creates the entire scene that takes the story forward. Parts of the performance are even interactive, with audience members being invited to take on small roles. It’s quite a treat to see how spontaneously audience members get into a role without any rehearsal, once they take the spotlight. Performing for and with the audience makes Storytelling theatre a joyful experience for us! So far, we have converted five of our past productions into Storytelling Theatre format – tales of Tenali Rama, and Robi’s Garden which is around Tagore’s writing, to name a few. Give the “no frills” format, the performance can easily be hosted in a variety of settings. We’ve performed in corporate auditoriums, public spaces and even in people’s backyards! Several performances have been out of Bangalore as well. The performances have been by invitation for diverse audiences. From school kids to groups of senior citizens, the response has been consistently enthusiastic. Encouraged by interest within BLT and the larger community, we are further building this programme, adding more plays and actor teams to take the joy of theatre and listening to stories to more spaces!
Revisiting Classic BLT Productions is BLT Gold. We hope to capture the magic of iconic BLT productions of the past and implement it with new energy and vigour. Children’s Theatre is really theatre and plays performed to benefit the disadvantaged child. Keeping with its commitment to add value to the community, BLT has at least one production that is is performed to raise funds for a partner organisation. In the past BLT has partnered with CRY, Dream a Dream Foundation and Association of the Mentally Challenged. This year BLT is partnering Indian Cancer Society.
History of Ideas
The essence of the programme is the production of plays based on the lives of great personalities who have contributed significantly to human thought in a demanding historical context. It is a very effective combination of educational objectives with entertainment value. The objective of the programme is to achieve a wide public reach using biographical plays as a vehicle for Inspiration regarding creative human endeavour and Public awareness regarding the shaping of societies.
Training & Workshops
The flagship training programme of BLT has been the annual Summer Project on Theatre, popularly known as SPOT.
Over the years SPOT has also included a Trainer-Training programme for wider dissemination of theatre training.
BLT has a long and highly admired track record in outreach activity.