A dalit teen being bullied off the playground by dominant caste youth, a girl's struggle with domestic violence and a refugee's religious discrimination are themes dominant in a new theatre production by a group of teenagers.
Titled "Walk," the play is based on lives and stories of 12 cast members, all in their teens, and in which no one plays their own part.
Facilitated by Tasawwur, a city-based collective of artists and educators, the show brings together song, choreography, tableaus and stories to take audience through the world inhabited by young people and the more inclusive world that they dream of.
"The play was born out of a 4 month intensive arts-for-social-change curriculum, in which 12 teenagers come together cutting across barriers of caste, class, gender, religion, and nationality to teach each other about the social issues that affect them," says Aditi Rao, founder of Tasawwur.
The organisation is being supported by the Change Looms With.In Fellowship.
Aged between 14 years to 18 years, the cast who are either enrolled in private or government schools or are open school candidates highlight issues that are of concern for teenagers hailing from various walks of life.
"Many of the young people in the program have talked about gender-based violence, on the streets in the form of sexual harassment, and in the home in the form of domestic violence.
Caste has come up as a big issue for some of our teenagers," says Rao.
"Religious discrimination has come up just as much. Drug and alcohol abuse across class and gender is another problem.
We've heard our teenagers share concerns of the increasing availability and dependence on substances from a very young age," she says.
Themes of suicide and self harm also find their place in the play.