Teach For India’s latest musical production took the stage at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, Bengaluru. Performing to sold-out crowds and overwhelming applause. After the success of the Mumbai premiere, the Sufi and Hamilton-inspired hip-hop musical traveled to Bengaluru, drawing an audience of over 2000 people, including educators, school children, business executives, senior government officials like Mr. Santosh Lad (Labour Minister of Karnataka), and influential artists like Priyanka Arora, Chetan Ahimsa, and Nikhil Kini.
The Conference of the Birds brought together a group of students who could not act, sing, dance, or speak English 18 months ago and brought to life a 90-page, magical tale of a flock of birds in search of the true meaning of “India”. Adapted from a Sufi text by Farid Ud-din Attar, The Conference of the Birds took the audience on a journey of exploring India’s Constitutional Values of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity. Through its thought-provoking soundtrack, the musical compelled audiences to question, laugh, cry, and come together for a larger purpose - bringing out the “I and I”, the “we” in India. Senior government official, Mr. Santosh Lad, who attended the musical, shared “It is really refreshing to see such an important message about our Preamble narrated by students in a creative and musical way.”
This musical was the culmination of an 18-month-long journey that began with the exploration of Teach For India’s newly developed “India & I Studies”, a set of lesson plans that help break down India’s constitutional ideals in the classroom. The India & I Studies, which have been successfully piloted across diverse schools, were offered to any educator or attendee at the musical who believes that our nation is built in our classrooms. Chetan Ahimsa, an artist and activist, shared “As an artist myself, it is so wonderful to see kids from typically low-income backgrounds be exposed to this great cultural, educational universe, where they are taught to dream big. The metaphor of birds soaring high in search of a greater purpose is so powerful”.
What made the musical so deeply personal even as it took the esteemed stage at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, is the incredible journey that the team has had over the last couple of years, bringing together seasoned experts with bold, young performers to create a show that is truly a grand artistic feat. The musical’s soundtrack is an enchanting blend of Sufi and hip-hop, led by musician and composer Anuraj Bhagat, in partnership with hip-hop artist Nimo Patel. It is also a spectacular visual treat with sets designed by creative genius Fali Unwala and costumes designed by Simi Nallaseth, who was part of the original Ice Age film’s creative team. The entire journey, featuring the many hands that played a role in the making of this musical, was captured beautifully in an intimate, behind-the-scenes film that was played at the end of the show.
As the curtains closed, all three shows of the musical were brought to an emotional end with a standing ovation. As audience members left the auditorium with tears in their eyes, moved by the memorable performances of the children, they enthusiastically exclaimed that the musical must be seen by as many people as possible.
The Conference of the Birds is made possible with the help of the title supporter, JSW Foundation, and the show supporters, BookASmile, Godrej, HSBC India, BNP Paribas Foundation and Max India Foundation.
After taking flight in Mumbai and Bengaluru, the Conference of the Birds is heading to Delhi on the 12th and 13th of August for its final set of shows. Tickets are available now on BookMyShow.
About Teach For India:
Teach For India's vision is for all children to get an excellent education. Their mission is to empower and build a movement of leaders by providing them with the support and ecosystem to manifest that change. As one of India's largest Fellowships and pipeline of talent into the education sector, Teach For India creates a nationwide impact by bringing India's brightest students and professionals to become Teach For India Fellows. These Fellows are placed as teachers in government and affordable private schools for two years. Today, 1000 Fellows teach 33,000 students in classrooms across eight cities. Teach For India Alumni directly impact 100,000 more children and reach 50 million children across India.
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