2011 was a year full of surprises.
First, the decision to widen the festival's impact was deliberated time and again. With a pinch of uncertainly accompanied by 'serious excitement' Annual Inter-School Drama Festival made the 'big leap'. For over 30 years, schools in and around Kolkata made the most of the famed 'School Drama competition' (as it was referred amongst peers and competitors alike).
The decision to expand and present an all-India opportunity was a fair stand; in the end it paid-off well. With 90 schools from across the country, you couldn't expect our excitement. The odds were mainy, the famous rains in Kolkata (city host for the initial heats), unfamiliarity of the festival amongst non-Kolkata schools, the wobbly number of engagement (the biggest devil of them all!).
And like its always said, the odds werent enough to cow down our intention when you saw 'first-time schools' - participating in the festival brought in a fresh stream of life.
The year also deep-rooted collaborations in the festival. British Council and Central School for Speech and Drama in association with Prabha Khaitan Foundation, Switz Food, RP-Sanjeev Goenka came on board to steer ahead the impact and goodwill of the festival.
Themed on 'Tagore at 150', the festival kickstarted with 45 schools at the semi finals (hosted in Kolkata), following which seven schools made it through to the finals of the festival. A crisp December afternoon saw the seven schools presenting their productions to a packed theatre at the British Council in Delhi. The year of surprises ended with popular Bollywood actress and school drama alumna Konkona Sen Sharma handing out prizes and certificates to winners and participants.
Konkona regaled her times in school drama and how exciting it continued to remain.
In the end 'Year 1' of the all-India initiative proved to present all the right noises for us to come back with similar engagements year after year; without any hesitation.