Timeline

 2018- April:

Unlearning Uncentred has now grown into a vision of creating a learning centre that hinges on arts and play based pedagogy, creating spaces for children to learn through their inherent curiosity and imagination. The programme was rechristened Ajab Gajab. While driven by volunteers last year, the programme is now managed by two qualified and experienced arts based educators.

10 of the core group members are participating in Pravah and Commutiny’s Samvidhan Live – an experiential exploration of the Indian constitution.

The Delhi Theatre Collective was initiated.

Two new productions will go on the floor – ‘I Want a Country’ to be directed by Tadpole’s Neel Chaudhuri and an exploration of the multiple cities that Delhi continues to be with Katkatha Puppet Arts, led by Anurupa Roy.

We have applied for our 12A and 80G certifications.

We are focused on strengthening our organisational systems and processes.

We are focused on expanding our team of inspiring educators and fellow dreamers to deepen our impact.

We are focused on expanding our reach through the publication of white papers and journal articles, in abid to inspire more people to create and build similar initiatives.

2017:

The SaRH and Gender programme developed into Darpan – an arts based methodology to explore issues around the body, gender, sexuality and relationships with adolescents and pre-adolescents. The programme expanded beyond the group in Nizamuddin to a group of 30 young girls in Badarpur Jaitpur in collaboration with an organisation called Pehchaan.

We began a year long arts based outreach project with KHOJ. This programme aimed at working with children and young people in Khirki village through drama, music and art and play based pedagogy. This project sowed the seeds of our long term collaboration with The Community Library Project through which we are consistently working with 30 children from the neighbourhood; 30 children from Khirki village who belong to a close knit familial community of tongewallas and bandwallas (people who perform in Hindu wedding processions and lend mares and chariots for the same) through Unlearning Uncentred; 5 local musicians from the neighbourhood who were the beginning of the Khirki Music Ensemble.

The core group travelled for a whole month – a huge indicator of our strong relationship with the community in Nizamuddin Basti. The parents who were earlier suspicious of sending their young ones, specially the girls, for theatre workshops, now trusted us enough to allow for travel outside Delhi, and that too in the month of Ramzan and then Eid. We did a 10 day long workshop with 50 students of the DPS in Srinagar ending with a collaborative performance of Duniya Sabki. We also travelled to Kolkata to perform at a festival and then several schools in collaboration with Think Arts and Jhalaphala.

Another full time team member was added to Aagaaz. We also found a temporary space to work out of in Nizamuddin West that hosts workshops, rehearsals, informal study groups

Urban Turban was developed as a piece that explores the relationship between gender and public space through physical theatre and objects.

2 of our core group members cracked the highly competitive ECA (Extra Curricular Activities) quota auditions and started pursuing undergraduate degrees in prestigious Delhi University colleges. They are the first in their families and amongst a handful in the basti to be pursuing formal education beyond higher secondary school.

We collaborated with Mumbai based company Theatre Professionals to begin Drama in Education jams to create a monthly space for drama educators, theatre practitioners and even enthusiasts to get together and create a self directed exploratory space of drama methodologies.

2016:

We started expanding our programmes – Mentor ONE, Unlearning Uncentred, SaRH & Gender.

Our first professional production, Raavan Aaya, directed by Neel Sengupta and supported by Mehneer Sudan, Dhwani Vij, Sukhmani Kohli, Clowns without Borders, and Loknaad, opened in various public venues, the Saharanpur Theatre Festival, and schools.

Gender Bender, Bangalore (supported by Sandbox Collective and the Goethe Institut) commissioned the development of another play – Urban Turban – an exploration of gender in everyday lives through physical theatre.

Sanyukta was selected for the Arthink South Asia Fellowship to develop her skills as an Arts Manager.

Conversations began with KHOJ International Artist’s Studio to design and implement an arts based outreach programme in Khirki Village. The first full time team member was hired.

2015:

AAGAAZ Theatre trust was registered. Unltd Delhi supported us as their investee and we revevied our play – Duniya Sabki was born. First external workshop was facilitated by Sananda Mukhopadhyay of Extensions Arts. 5 of the Core Group members were selected through auditions with children across the city to act in a short feature film directed by Columbia University student Sushmita Saha called Bakri. The film has been screened in festivals worldwide.Direct engagement with 20 core group members, indirectly impacting 120 family members.

2014 Dec:

Aagaaz devised and performed the first play as an independent theatre group – ‘Bansuriwala’, which we performed in several schools and public places.

2013– March:

Sanyukta quit AKF and started working with the kids on her own. This was the year when Aagaaz was born as an idea.

2010– April:

The kids from the Basti were introduced to various theatre/music workshops as part of their co-curricular activities.

2009– Oct:

Sanyukta joined Aga Khan Foundation’s Urban Renewal Initiative as their Arts Education Programme Coordinator. She worked directly and strategically with the 500 elementary school children studying in the MCD Primary School located in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti.