The importance of power of speech and clarity of thoughts can never be emphasised enough, especially if you are working in a public domain. No, this doesn’t refer to only those working in tinseltown, but also to teachers, lawyers and those in the sales field.
The first workshop of Loud & Clear organised by Vidyanidhee Vanarase, founder director of International Association for Performing Arts & Research (IAPAR), held online, was received well. And, now registrations are open for the second batch. The second workshop will be held on May 23 and 24, from 10 am-1 pm. To register, write to email@example.com
A veteran name in theatre, Vanarase has been holding these workshops for a long time now. However, conducting it in virtual space is a first for him. “After the lockdown was announced in March, I did some mock workshops to see how these can be executed online. As performing artists, we always have to be ‘live’, so I had to find out how this can be worked out in the online scenario. This was what I would call my laboratory work,” he says.
The Loud & Clear workshop, which revolved around voice, speech and basic principles of communication, was conducted with the help of Zoom software. There were some challenges and new learnings for Vanarase. “When you conduct these workshops offline, you include physical exercises. I couldn’t include those in this online workshop. I am yet to find a way out on how to incorporate them. I can demonstrate them or tell the participants how to do it. But you cannot tell the person if what he is doing physically, is right or wrong, unless you are together in one space, in the real world. At least I don’t think that’s a correct approach,” he says.”
“However, there are some other factors which can be taught, which you can experience or absorb on your own. This is what we focused on in the virtual space. We worked on voice exercises, speech and so on. All this helps in communication – whether it’s in our day to day lives, or in specific work scenario like teaching, sales, acting etc – and of course in online communication,” he adds.
When asked if it was a one-on-one interaction with the participants or a group one, Vanarase mentions, “It was a combination of both. Zoom has a ‘breakout room facility’ and thereby we could work with a small number of people or just one person. That’s how we designed the workshop. The advantage here was that these groups wouldn’t have any interference from the others. In physical spaces, when all four groups would work together in a practice hall, they would all be disturbed by each other. Zoom allows the groups in breakout room to concentrate on their work. Once we finished those, we would come back again in a bigger room. I would keep travelling, working with all the groups.”
The number of participants has been fixed between 15-20, including Vanarase. The first batch had 19 people. “I decided that we could fix the number of participants depending on the number of people I could see on my screen, and not just as thumb images. That number came to be between 15-20 people including me,” he says. The Loud & Clear workshop is for anyone who wants to use their voice effectively. Therefore, the first batch had school teachers, lawyers, public speakers, trainers, aspiring actors, professional voice-over artists.
“The vocal cords of teachers and professors are often strained, stressed out. It is assumed that if a teacher is able to keep the kids quiet in a classroom, then s/he is a good teacher. So we train them on how they can use their voice effectively,” he says. Do they get any repeat participants? Do they require any follow-up? “In my workshops, I give them a complete toolkit. I tell the participants that they should be doing these exercises regularly. If they don’t, then I will meet them again in the next workshop. Working on your voice is like doing a riyaz . A kid when he is learning to speak, listens and keeps on repeating. That’s how his/her speech is developed. That’s why the participants have to repeat exercises, every day,” adds Vanarase.
He is also planning to hold workshops for dancers and a theatre group working abroad. “I am in talks with a theatre practitioner in Nigeria and Shambhavi Dandekar, Kathak dancer, also requested me to conduct something for them. I plan to hold these workshops in June, and the timings would be convenient for those residing in USA and African countries,” he points out.