Adventures in Odissa, India

BhuFeSto was a wonderful celebration

Held in conjunction with the Hockey world Cup in Bhubaneshwar, this was a delightful experience from first to last. Four stages scattered across four beautfiul parks spread around the city attracted large crowds every day for 4 days, and manyin the audience stayed pretty much the whole time from 2.30 – 7.30 each day. While I was sad I didn’t get to see my fellow international tellers perform – Antonio Rocha (Brazil/USA) Ariyo Zidni (Indonesia) Bongiswa (South Africa) and Marion Kernny (UK), I was delighted to reconnect (and perform with) some FEAST friends including Nupur Agrawal and Rohini Viz . I particularly enjoyed getting to tell in tandem biligually with them – Rohini interacting spontaneously (in Hindi) with my marauding wolf puppet in The Gunniwolf, and Nupur playing my sister in the story of the two siblings who fall out vover a cow and she decides to build a wall between us (but the contractor builds a bridge.)

I also visited the SAI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL where I thoroughly enjoyed conducting a highly interactive session with about 600 8-10 year olds, before returningt the folowing afternoon to run a workshop for 50 pre-school and lower primary teachers on storytelling and how to integrate it into their lessson plans.

Om my last night in Bhubaneshwar, two of the Bakul Foundation volunteers brought me to the Art/Craft Market set up specially for the duration of the Hockey World Cup. There I discovered an amazing artist who creates these stunnnig embroidered tapestries of local village life. In this one – which is 1,5metres long – apart from the park at the bottom, there’s a mosque, temple, church and gurdwara (for Sikhs). My idea is to use this as a stimulus for story making: choose any three elements from the picture and weave them into a story that trakes place in ‘Our Village’.

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