The 3 week Yak Pack Theatre Project
- Will bring exciting and engaging live theatre to more than 1000 school children and family members living in this isolated and impoverished 'tribal' area - thats 1 in 10 of the people who live in the Spiti Valley - including hard-to-reach children with special needs. Performances will be held in schools, monasteries and nunneries, in villages at the end of the working day, at festivals and special events.
- Will share a sensory and interactive performance which celebrates and explores the joys and issues common to rural societies all over the world. Using a cast of adults, children and a local narrator, we will connect with our audience across divisions of age, background and language.
- Will offer teachers formal and informal training to bring more drama into their curriculum, and support the movement away from rote learning towards more modern education styles.
- Will establish cross-cultural links between schools and organisations in the UK and in Spiti, and leave a legacy of enthusiasm for theatre, and the tools to use it in the classroom.
"the benefits of education in theatre arts are clear...emphasis on creativitity, critical thinking and collaborative skills especially apply to all fields in the 21st century workforce" The american alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE)
who we are
We are two English families who, with our five children, have come together to form The Yak Pack Theatre Project. With a trunk of props and a backpack of costumes, we will all perform in the specially written play ‘Jambhala’. With over 25 years experience making theatre for and with young people, we will bring a direct and inspiring learning experience that will stay with the children of Spiti for many years to come.
In 2015 we took a small theatre project to Munsel-Ling School in Spiti, working with 30 children over 2 days. Although very successful, we knew this project was limited by both the language barrier and a lack of funds. The 2018 Yak Pack Theatre Project is much more ambitious, and builds on our previous experience, enthusiasm and relationship with Spiti. The project will have a much wider-reaching impact on the community and we will perform to over 1000 people - that's 1 in 10 of the people who live in Spiti.
…… Culture and the arts are essential components of a comprehensive education leading to the full development of the individual. Therefore, Arts Education is a universal human right, for all learners.“ UNESCO: 'The Road Map of Arts Education' (2006)
'Jambhala', is an original fairy tale which asks the question 'What does home mean to you?'. The play explores issues relevant to isolated communities all over the world. 'Jambhala' means 'wealth' in Hindi, and invites our young audience to reflect on the many meanings of wealth: money, knowledge, spirituality, community and home.
During the first week of the project, we will be rehearsing in Kaza, the main town of the Spiti Valley. We will employ a local performer to join the cast as a narrator-translator, enabling us to overcome the language barrier and bring 'Jambhala' to remote schools and villages which are rarely visited by the international teaching community and volunteers.
During this week, we will also build cultural exchanges. Meeting and sharing experiences with the Buchan, traditional story telling monks, and forging links between local schools and schools in the UK.
The second week of the project takes us into local schools. 'Jambhala' is a lively and interactive play, which invites audience members to be involved and engaged, rather than just sitting and watching. Small parts will be offered to willing audience members, we will share music and song, sound effects and scenery will be created by the audience. Each performance is unique to the moment, and shaped by the audience on the day.
Our performances will enrich the curriculum, and support the future of drama in schools through distribution of activity packs, providing teacher training, and demonstrating how local storytellers can be an important part of a modern education system.
"Contrary to rote education, Theatre in education presents a different approach for discussions, contributions and creativity through performance"
In the UK, we regularly train and advise teachers on ways to use our performances as a springboard for future work in which children become deeply engaged, across many curriculum subjects. This training will be available to teachers in Spiti after the performances, and also provided digitally in Hindi for future reference, kindly translated by the Tibetan Studies team at Oxford University.
Yaks and ponies will take our trekking theatre company from village to village in some of the highest inhabited places on earth, for the 3rd week of the project.
Here, the tiny village schools will be closed for the summer, and everyone will be working hard in their family fields to bring in the harvest. We will perform 'Jambhala' in a different village at the end of each working day, bringing the local families an international artistic experience designed to reflect a deep appreciation of their unique place in the world.
The Ladarcha Fair in August draws many of the rural communities to the main town of Kaza. During the Fair we will stage a performance for a wider audience and offer a teacher training session on using drama in schools. We will also perform an exclusive show to families who have children with special needs.
For details of sponsorship opportunities, please call us on 01202 421806, or email email@example.com
We are committed to ensuring that Spitian people and their businesses are the beneficiaries of the Yak Pack Theatre Project. As well as the performances, we will support local enterprise by staying in village homestays (one in Langza village, for example, is run by the lady pictured here), employing local guides, horsemen and drivers from Spiti, and by using businesses and services run by the Spitian community.