Applause for the kids on the block

Applause for the kids on the block

Youngsters have less inhibitions and their aim is to put up a good show, no matter the results

By Purva Grover

Published: Thu 5 Dec 2019, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Fri 6 Dec 2019, 1:00 AM

Children are spontaneous with little or no inhibitions, and it's a pleasure working with them, especially when it comes to live art forms. They're risk-takers and don't always perform to win or please. It's something we should learn from them - how to enjoy the process of creating and not worrying about the outcome.
Children can also benefit from theatre activities by developing their emotional and cognitive skills. A study by Dr Natasha Kirkham, senior lecturer in psychology and researcher at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck University London, showed that access to theatre and drama can boost a child's academic performance. "Theatre can improve social bonding, allow for emotions to be explored in a safe space, develop the emotional and cognitive skills to deal with a complicated world, and kick-start conversations about important issues," said Dr Kirkham.
It's great to be a child in the UAE theatre family. There is an abundance of talent out there and I have been fortunate to work with some of the best, like Nandini Khanna who was all of 15 when I worked with her as director and playwright in 2017. She stole the show with her bold acting in a play on breast cancer awareness, and I continue to be her biggest fan.
The same year, I brought the then four-year-old Ella Briet on stage as herself - a daughter. She giggled, danced and left a mark in the play themed on dealing with the loss of a mother. Last February, the then 12-year-old actor Kripa Kotriwala was brave enough to act and self-direct my script on terrorism. I learnt that children are not afraid to speak up on issues adults often brush under the carpet.
 Next weekend, a bunch of children will be doing exactly that. Students from The Hive, a performing arts school, will be presenting a devised physical theatre piece called Seventeen (17 students died at a school shooting in February 2018) on gun laws and school. An 18-year-old walked onto campus in the US with a gun in hand and decided to shoot. It led to revolution by a bunch of teenagers. This tragic, inspirational news story is the central theme of the 17-minute play.
The spotlight is indeed on young ones. Says Sabiha Majgaonkar, Festival Director of the Short + Sweet Theatre 2020 UAE, "We are expecting a few schools to participate this year, in addition to the actors who'd be taking part as individual acts. So, you can expect to be impressed with some 25 children." Here's a huge round of applause for the kids on the block.  

Children's Day Out
 . Puss in Boots: Dec 6-7, 2.30pm & 5.30pm, Dh145/ticket, The Junction, Alserkal Avenue
. The Nutcracker, Dec 6-7, 2pm & 8pm, Dh200 onwards/ticket, Dubai Opera
. The Hive Comedy Festival: Dec 12, 4pm, Dec 13, 7.30pm, free-to-attend. (Park entry and Children's City entrance apply). Children's City, Creekside Park, Deira
. Seventeen: Dec 13, 6.45pm, free-to-attend (Park entry and Children's City entrance apply). Children's City, Creekside Park, Deira
. Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy & Friends: Dec 13-24, 10am & 2.30pm, Dh150/adult, Dh120/child; QE2, Port Rashid

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