Sukhmani Kohli (facilitator)
Sukhmani is a strong believer in learning from life’s experiences. After having walked out of the formal education system, she explored film making, art and design, zero waste lifestyles, theatre, craft, urban farming and clowning. She has worked as a film maker and youth facilitator for the last five years; working on environment, gender, identity and citizenship. She has also been involved with community theatre for almost 10 years.
Sukhmani loves mangoes and chocolate and can’t spell but is our technical brain.
She loves stories and sharing them…and after setting up a community cafe – Cafe Kaffee Kuchh in 2008 in Chandigarh, she has now moved on to setting up yet another space for sharing stories – Purple Mangoes!
Mehneer Sudan (facilitator)
Mehneer Sudan is a dance artiste working in the field of Contemporary and Jazz Dance for the past 14 years. Involved in contemporary developments in dance with emerging artistes, she is the co-founder of Dance Dialogues in Bombay, an initiative to build an engaging and supportive dance community in the city; and a founder member of The Gati Dance Forum, Delhi.
In her contemporary work, she draws inspiration from dance-theatre, performance art, and improvisation. Her primary interest lies in developing a personal movement vocabulary that defies classification.
She is also deeply interested in Dance in Education and in choreographing Annual/Graduation day productions. She hopes to develop a syllabus to help children understand where movement originates in the body, responding to stimuli including music, text, objects, and how to perform basic skills to express and communicate ideas, outside of any particular form.
Dhwani Vij (facilitator, director)
Dhwani Vij is a freelance theatre director and actor, based in Delhi. She holds a Master’s degree in Theatre (specializing in Physical Theatre and Performance) from the University of London, Royal Holloway College, UK. In the field of theatre, she has more than five years of experience in training, facilitation and performance making. She has facilitated workshops on confidence building, performance making, and leadership training in institutes such as Shri Ram School (Gurgaon), Bal Bharti School (Pitampura), Pearl Academy (Noida), and Ralli International School (Indrapuram). She has been associated with Neemrana Foundation, Nestle, Tadpole Repertory, and Yellow Cat Theatre Company in various roles and has also directed the production “Footnotes” through Turntable Productions.
Neel Sengupta (facilitator, director)
Neel Sengupta is a Theatre practitioner based in Delhi. An Alumnus of The Players, Kirori Mal College, he has directed and acted in several award winning plays and has been actively involved with Theatre for over 4 years. He is the recipient of the Sultan Padamsee Thespo award 2012 for Excellence in Direction for his play ‘Line’.He is currently working with the Tadpole Repertory Delhi,Toss a Coin Productions, New Delhi and Indian Ensemble, Bangalore.
Himani Haswani (facilitator, volunteer)
Himani identifies as a ‘Queen of dropouts’. She has successfully dropped out of Pearl Academy of Fashion, South Delhi Polytecnic, Raro House of Fashion, Raindrop Designs and Ivolunteer. Alternatively, she has completed her diploma course in Design Development for Indian Ethnic Wear from National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi.
She claims that she couldn’t find her space to explore or grow as a learner until she came across Aagaaz with the help of Ivolunteer. She started volunteering for Unlearning Uncentred and enjoyed the informal ways of teaching that provide an organic and safe space for expression. Teaching people how to draw and write are interests that help her understand various mindsets.
Apart from this, she is learning sculpting, stitching and handloom work. Himani loves animals, the sky and the loner inside her that wishes to remain.
Noopur Midha (facilitator, consultant)
Noopur is an educator, working across India through the medium of teachers. She believes that each and every child deserves a quality education and one strong way to accomplish that is to reach out to teachers and schools to improve their quality. She has worked with organizations like The Teacher Foundation (Bangalore) and Learning Links Foundation (New Delhi) and conducted trainings for more than 1.5 thousand teachers across government and private schools.
She believes the core purpose of education is to create thinking individuals, and strives hard to achieve that in anything she takes up.
Naveen Sharma (facilitator, rehearsal director)
Naveen is a theatre practitioner and director based in Delhi. He is an alumnus of Dyal Singh College, Delhi University and was actively involved in street and stage theatre during his three years there. Currently, he is working as an assistant director in the play Daastan-e-Bhook, a Third Space Collective production and as a rehearsal director with Aagaaz Theatre Trust.
Noel Sengupta (facilitator, assistant director)
Noel joined Aagaaz as an assistant director to his brother Neel for our production ‘Raavan Aaya’.
He is a graduate of Ramjas College with a degree of Botany honours. His first contact with theatre happened after he joined college. He claims that his purpose in life is to question and find out the answer to all the questions he has come up with. He tries to do that with the little knowledge he has in Science and Theatre. His quest is still on and that happens to be one of the reasons he continues to be connected to Aagaaz.
Vanshika Chaudhary (former intern)
Vanshika did her Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Daulat Ram College, Delhi University. She has learnt Hindustani Classical music in school and is an active part of her college’s music society, ‘Alahyaa’. She is also very passionate about dance and is currently learning ‘Jazz’ from the ‘Danceworx’, Delhi for the past two years. Vanshika joined Aagaaz as an intern in June, 2015. She conducted music workshops with the kids along with the other interns.
Divyam Gaur (former intern)
Divyam did his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the prestigious Kirori Mal College. He was an active member of the college’s music society, ‘Musoc’ where he contributed as a Vocalist(indian and western). He has been playing the guitar for over 5 years. He has also been associated with the Music ensemble ‘Raas’ as a guitarist and vocalist which performed at various venues in Delhi. Divyam joined Aagaaz in June, 2015 as an intern wishing to impart his musical sense and skill set to the members of the group. With this association, he hopes to draw closer to the lives of the children and grow as an individual.
Kunal Singh (former intern)
Kunal has been training in Hindustani Classical vocals under the guidance of his Guru, Mrs. Tripti Das and has completed his Sangeet Visharad (i.e., Bachelors Degree in Music) from Bhatkhande Music Institute, Lucknow. He was chosen as a part of the Lt. Pt.Ravi Shankar’s Global Ensemble where he was trained in Western Classical Singing by Maestro Gerald Wirth, Artistic Director of the famous Vienna Boys Choir, Austria. Kunal is also a part of Kirori Mal College’s music society, Musoc. Along with singing, he has a keen interest in musical instruments and enjoys playing the guitar, keyboards, harmonium and many percussive instruments. Kunal started interning with Aagaaz with an aim to share his love for music and the joy that it brings him with all the members of the group, while also enabling them to gain a solid foundation in their musical abilities through workshops and interactive sessions.
Tom (former intern)
Tom is our dear friend from Herefordshire, England. He has a deep interest in the arts, in particular: acting, since he joined a local youth theatre at the age of 14. He is currently a member of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and has performed in various shows. Aside from theatre, he loves sports and music.
Aagaaz was introduced to him by his uncle who lives in Delhi and it all started from there. He had only ever done drama as a hobby so being able to facilitate and be on the other side of the dramatic process was something he really wanted to do.
Anusha Ravishankar (former mentor)
Anusha currently works as a Consultant on various Arts and Culture projects in New Delhi. Her work includes the curation of performing arts festivals, publications and spaces; research on performance arts theory and archives, in addition to advocacy for theatre for young learners. Currently with the National Museum, Theatre Professionals and Downstairs@S47 she was formerly with Ranga Shankara and IGNCA. A trained dancer, her own arts practice involves live art and movement.
Kunwar Rajeev Singh (former mentor)
Rajeev happens to be a development sector professional by education and profession. He is keenly interested in sustainability, urban governance, theatre and theatre in education. Previously, he has had close to five years of work experience in urban governance, urban livelihoods and the disability sector. He really enjoys working with young children, talking to them and playing with them.
Nisha (former mentor)
Nisha comes from the rock capital of India- Shillong . She works at MaynardLeigh Associates as a Senior Project Manager. She is interested in music and carries it everywhere she goes. She has been keen on being associated with the arts.
Robin Raju (former mentor)
Juggling between corporate and world of arts, Robin believes in following his heart in whatever he does. A marketing professional, he has been pursuing a career in dance for the past three years. He currently is training in Jazz & Ballet from The Danceworx Performing Arts Academy in Delhi.
Saba Ishaq (former mentor)
Saba is a social and natural resource development consultant and specializes in capturing the role of society and technology in making development work. She has worked with NGOs, International and Government organization and is inclined towards research and analysis with career spanning fifteen years including independent consultancy. Her interest include socio-political ecological framework for problem analysis, policy designing, youth and society and varied learning platforms for knowledge exchange.
Nishant Paul (former team member, mentor, facilitator)
Nishant claims that he is utterly confused and engaged with the world, both in his own way. For now he is trying to enable varied learning for children and himself, with an open minded approach. He has previously worked with Ambuja Cement as a graduate Engineer in Bhatinda and Darlaghat.
This was followed by a completely new trajectory as he joined India Fellow and engaged with Kumaon Grameen Udyog and Aarohi in Uttarakhand. He recently worked with an alternative school called Sinchan in Bhuj and is now with us at Aagaaz, giving shape to the mentoring programme and the upcoming learning centre.
Jasmine Sachdev (facilitator)
Mihir Dhar Prabhu is an actor and educator. His goal is to create education spaces that are democratic, playful and inclusive. As a fellow with Teach for India, he taught English, Math, Social Studies, and Science, along with sports and extra-curricular activities .An alumnus of Rishi Valley School and Ambedkar University [where he studied history], his academic interests include history, philosophy, economics, technology, and the environment. He presented a paper on rejuvenating the classroom as a part of the Learning from Learners conference in IHC in 2016. Apart from teaching and acting, he spends his time writing, trekking and playing and teaching chess.