Chennai drama troupe ‘Little Theatre’ shows laughter is serious work

Aysha Rau

Chennai: For anyone into drama, ‘The Little Theatre’ might certainly be familiar. For the last 27 years, the Nungambakkam-based organisation has made long-lasting impact through its famous productions and societal welfare activities, focusing on children’s well-being.

Started in 1991 by Aysha Rau, The Little Theatre has diversified from being an independent group to a large body of creative individuals, who orchestrate high-quality drama and contribute in the field of children’s mental well-being, through its hospital clown initiatives.

DRAMA TIME

Every December, the group is popular for its ‘Christmas Pantomime’. “It is one of our famous theatre productions,” says Aysha. “Many people take part in it. Children as young as five get involved.”

A play in progress

Putting up a show In 2015, The Little Theatre introduced the concept of hospital clowns, at the Government Children’s Hospital, Egmore. Concentrating on the emotional happiness of a child,  volunteers do their best to lift the spirits of young patients at a hospital, by performing impromptu skits, jokes and more.

“This is a form of creative therapy,” says artistic director Krishnakumar Balasubramaniyan. He informs that this form of therapy is tough to execute, but with intense training, one can improve their skills.

“I remember when my friend and I were returning home one night after a session in the hospital, our bike got punctured. When we took it to a nearby shop, for service, and informed that we were hospital clowns, the mechanic was happy and didn’t charge us. He said one of his relative’s health had improved following a session we had organised. It was a very humbling experience. Such moments fuel the team at The Little Theatre, to do more.”

THE PITCH

How does she manage the funding? “To be honest, it is tough every year,” says Aysha. “I always start pitching whatever fund raising events we are conducting, to corporates and other sponsors, months in advance,” adding that her experience in the advertising industry, too, helps her.

For details, visit www. thelittletheatreindia.com.

Mohammed Rayaan