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All the world is a stage for him

Theatre happens everywhere. So believes Manu Jose, who is known as actor, storyteller and trainer. He is more popular among children as Dumdum Maman or Manu Uncle, thanks to his theatre training sessions on television.

And summer is when Manu loves to take children to places where they discover themselves. The summer theatre camps organised by Manu's Meandyou Performing Company is marked for the locations they choose.

While the first two editions, the summer camps started in 2007, were conventional spaces, it moved to new, innovative spaces from 2009 onwards.

“On that year, we took the children to Kodanad Mana at Vellarakad, Thrissur. The camp was named ‘Ammathu' and I wanted the children to get that nostalgic feeling of returning to maternal home during vacation,” says Manu.

The next year, it was Chimmony Wildlife Sanctuary, Thrissur, as the camp was named ‘Kaadakam'.

This year, the camp is titled ‘Sea Shells', and yes, the camp is to be held at Malippuram along the Vypeen coast. “My idea is to introduce children to things in life that they might have only heard of so far and get hands-on experience. Theatre and other related activities happen amidst this.”

Varied sessions

Besides a voyage out to the sea, this session will have training sessions in Bathik painting, session with Chavittunatakam, a ‘pilgrimage' to Muziris, a mangrove walk and interactions with local fishermen.

“The children will be getting first-hand knowledge about various activities like fishing, fish processing, net knitting, boat maintenance as well as traditional wisdom about climate and astronomy.”

Musical sessions, including a Mehfil evening, art sessions and film screenings are also part of the festival.

The camp is being organised in association with Aiswarya Dweep Residents' Association in Malippuram. “While children are enthusiastic, some even calling up to register well in advance, some parents do express their apprehension about leaving the children in locations like a forest and the sea coast.

But my experience has always been that children, once they are told about dangers involved, behave responsibly and hardly do we need to police them,” says Manu.

The camp will be held from April 5 to 14 and is open to children aged between 10 and 17 years.

“Next year, I have plans to set up a proper agricultural field for the kids, where they will go through every stage of farming – right from preparing the field and sowing the seeds.”

For, Manu believes, theatre could happen anywhere, in any form. He can be contacted on 94471 94411.

Anand Haridas

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