The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has introduced Theatre Studies as in elective subject in Class XI from the current academic session. The subject is being introduced "as a pilot course on first-come-first-serve basis".
"Theatre is one of the strongest mediums of expression...it is as old as mankind and has manifested itself in countless forms all over the world," says the letter from the board to school principals.
"Theatre can also play an important role in reinforcing and furthering the learning of other academic subjects which are taught in conventional ways," says the letter, adding, "It concretizes issues that would otherwise remain abstract and difficult for children to grasp. It puts life back into bookish learning." Students will pick up a variety of theatre-skills and "experiment in different ways of responding to and performing drama".
The subject will have a 70-mark theory paper with 30 marks for "case study-based project and viva voce". The course will introduce students to theatre as an art-form (what it is, why it is relevant and concepts of space, time, audience and performance), different dramatic forms and styles, theatre architecture, history of Indian theatre, Indian folk and street theatre, Asian theatre (Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian), western theatre (Greek, Roman, Elizabethan, Italian) and even the links between Indian theatre and films.
As part of the theatre theory, students will study the works of Vijay Tendulkar, Mohan Rakesh, Dharmveer Bharti, Badal Sarkar, Shankar Shesh, Girish Karnad, Chandrashekhar Kambar, Rabindranath Tagore and Bhartendu Harishchandra. They will also "review" Indian theatre organizations such as National School of Drama and Sangeet Natak Academy.