“I learned a lot from them in Jana Sanskriti”- Alvim Cossa

Jana Sanskriti was started as an experiment about 30 years ago by a group of dedicated people who saw it as an effective means of social change. Later, they came into contact with Augusto Boal of Brazil, the father of Theatre of the Oppressed, and Jana Sanskriti - Centre for Theatre of the Oppressed in Kolkata – was born. Today Jana Sanskriti has more than 30 teams in West Bengal alone most of whom are agricultural labourers. Their plays range from domestic violence to political violence, reconstruction of public institutions of resistance against aggressive forms of development. Recently, artistes from 15 countries covering almost all the continents came to Kolkata to participate in the Muktadhara VI theatre festival, organized by Jana Sanskriti. “This time 24 artistes from 15 countries are participating in this Festival, which would be on till December 19, 2014. We have unsung theatre lovers from different corners of the world to the doyens like Brian Brophy, who heads the arts and theatre wing of the California Institute of Technology,” said Dr Sanjoy Ganguly, Director & Founder member, Jana Sanskriti. Alvim Cossa, Hermelinda Simela and Fred Goenha from Mozambique were present. Abhijit Ganguly speaks to Alvim Cossa.

Since how long have you been associated with the theater? How were you initiated to it? What is the most memorable and challenging incident of your career?

I've been working in the theater since 1993, when together with my friends from childhood created the "Colectivo Gota de Lume" that same year participated in the Amateur Theatre Festival of Maputo and were in 2nd place. It was a good start and never stopped. In 2001, I met the Theatre of the Oppressed and had the opportunity to learn directly from Augusto Boal, returned to Maputo, created GTO-Maputo (Oppressed Theatre Group) that since 2013 went to CTO-Maputo (Center of Theatre of the Oppressed). We are working with120 theater groups throughout Mozambique, bringing Community reflections on health (HIV / AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, leprosy) among others, but also our plays and performances bring, Governance, Corruption, Quality of services provided by the state to citizens, water, sanitation, among many.

How was your experience at the Jana Sanskriti?

I learned a lot from them in Jana Sanskriti. The way they associate the pure Indian culture in their presentations, the way they work in the spectator's psychology, allowing them to step on stage, consciously and fight to change the reality of the play that is both the his reality as a person.

How do you see the future of theatre in the age of the internet?

Nothing will replace the theatre, yes, it is a growing challenge, because we have to grow in our dramatic buildings, bring more joy even addressing pain and sorrow, we have to be more creative in the aesthetics of each presentation and create conditions for human contact is intensive in each show, we have to come to life in a visible and discernible for our different public!

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