New York City's Bond Street Theatre and Exile Theatre of Kabul, Afghanistan, continue their five-year relationship with a new exchange project in India. The three-country project will bring performances and theatre-based education to underserved youth in rural and urban areas of India over the next two years. The project will provide arts-based training for teachers, programs for students in the Universities, and artistic exchange with local artists.
The two groups see the advantage of developing a project in India where they can collaborate with Indian theatre artists who are well-versed in educational outreach, witness a variety of social theatre programs in action, and share techniques that they have found most effective.
The project offers lively, highly visual performances that use little language and introduces the theatre groups to the communities in which they will be working. The program also includes theatre-based workshops that improve learning abilities in children, boost self-confidence, develop leadership and communication skills, foster teamwork, stimulate creative thinking and problem-solving abilities, and encourage self-expression.
Training teachers in these techniques is an essential component of the project, and offers new skills to artists, faculty, students and local NGOs that have educational outreach services. The focus will be on Muslim communities that most closely replicate the cultural customs in Afghanistan.
The two theatre groups met in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan in 2002 and have continued their creative partnership ever since. Together, the companies have toured their performances for adults and for children, and presented them in schools in Afghanistan, and on tour in the USA and Japan.