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Community & Peace-Building Projects: 2006–Present


Supported by WISCOMP, this project took place in Kashmir, in the village of Beejbehara, near Srinagar where 25 young women aged of 18-25 worked with team Katkatha using masks and puppets and writer B.Gauri for 7 months to explore personal stories of growing up and living in Kashmir through the conflict years and the poetry of sufi poetess Lal Ded (whose shrine lies in Beejbehara). The process culminated in a show by team Katkatha, scripted by B Gauri and titled Kashmir Project which premiered in 2007.



This roadshow with a difference included 20 young women from Jharkhand and UP who travelled with team Katkatha on the back of a truck to use giant puppet heads and puppets at public spaces, like market places and village sqares, to celebrate and tell the story of local women achievers and to enable their own communities to look at women with a different lenses.



A three-part performance called Gender Tamasha was  created with the support of Pravah. These performances and films explored the idea of safe spaces for women at work, on the streets and at home. Using giant puppet heads these non verbal pieces explored the everyday gender realities of India asking people to stop oppression based on gender by speaking up. The project is still running online as the MustBol campaign.


Community Health Project in collaboration with World Bank, CHEALSEA and Make Arts/Stop AIDS

An HIV/AIDS awareness program that ran for over 8 years and spanned 5 states of India included the play Virus ka tamasha  that performed over 150 shows, a project called Khel-Khel Mein with teenagers from 5 states of India, who had been infected or affected by HIV or AIDS. The group made a puppet performance for their peer group based on their own stories and ICTC material and these were replicated in 2000 Do-it-yourself puppet kits distributed by NACO across 5 states of India. 



With the National School of Drama Theatre-In-Education Repertoire. This was an eight-week process of exploring arts and education with the repertoire actors. This included the training of actors to play puppets and improvising with material and puppets. The process culminated in a non-verbal show with giant puppets. This show for children has been performed two hundred times across India, in schools and children’s festivals.


With Sandbox Collective, this six-week workshop process yielded a performance based on Climate Change and the world that may be in 2050 if we don’t change our ways. The collaboration included training Bangalore based performers to play puppets, create puppets and create through improvisations a performance for children.


At the Serendipity Arts Festival. Team Katkatha put together an exhibition of shadow puppets curated by Anurupa Roy at the Serendipity Arts exhibition that brought to the general public narratives from the diverse Ramayanas that exist only in the oral narratives of the puppet forms of India. It also extended to an interactive part which enabled audiences to play with shadow for and technique and explore its scientific aspects.


Over the years Katkatha has put together an extensive research on traditional puppet forms. This includes interviews with master puppeteers, documentation of visits to the homes and villages of master puppeteers and documentation of excerpts of traditional puppet shows. This information has then been disseminated through lectures and talks over the years. The main idea is to educate the public at large about the nuances of puppetry and expand audiences and create an interest among younger people. Also to bring to focus the work of individual masters of the various traditional forms.

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