Kids Corner

Film/Stage

Ish Amitoj Kaur &
The Theater Factory

JESSICA NOEL CHAPIN

 

 

 

 


What comes to your mind when you think of theater? Perhaps you recall fond memories of high school drama class, a song from a favorite musical, or a touching storyline.

Theater is a boundless source of entertainment, but it can also boost confidence of kids who participate. It is this unique aspect of theater that drew Ish Amitoj Kaur to found ‘The Theater Factory‘.

The Theater Factory is a place for children to learn the skills of drama while building self-confidence and leadership skills. Ish, who has a professional background and training in the performing arts, was inspired to start a theater-training group for children in the San Francisco Bay Area (California, USA) after the birth of her son.

After many years of traveling around the United States for various theater groups, Ish needed something more home-based. She also felt that there was a lack of professional theater training for children in the region. From these needs, The Theater Factory was born.

Ish grew up on the subcontinent, in the city of Simla. She earned a Master’s degree in theater at Panjab University in Chandigarh, was involved in numerous productions, and went on to work on several films.

Her greatest love, however, was working with children. Several children under her tutelage later acquired leads in Bollywood films such as “Three Idiots” and “The Blue Umbrella.“

Although Ish once swore to her mother that she would never leave Bombay, fate had other plans. On a visit to the United States to see her sister, Ish met a man who would have been her neighbor in India. They got married and she moved her work to the U.S. She says she owes her successes to him.

“He let me fly and do what I wanted to do.“

Now a year into the program, Ish is changing the lives of local kids through her theater programs. Each session lasts six months. The cost is $75 per month, per child. At the end of the session, the children put on a production for their parents and the community. The plays are one-act original productions written by Ish, with the inspiration for the stories stemming from contemporary social issues.

The Theater Factory has produced two plays so far, ‘The Ugly Buckling’ and ’Betty and Her Feast.‘

The Ugly Buckling deals with the issue of bullying, a very hot topic these days.

“When I had my son, I heard about children dying from bullying. I couldn’t imagine losing a child to bullying.“

Betty and Her Feast addresses the overuse of technology among children today. The main character, Betty, is having a birthday party. Sadly, no one can make it to the party because all of the guests are too busy sending her birthday wishes online. It is a combination of fantasy, fiction, and satire, with Western and Punjabi music and choreography.

Ish hopes to eventually take this program nationwide. She is currently working with a local church, trying to form a non-profit organization to keep costs low for program participants.

“I love working with kids! I feel they are raw dough that can be molded into anything. It’s a symbiotic relationship. They learn from you and you learn from them.”

Children in these programs gain more than acting experience. They gain confidence, the ability to work with others, and leadership skills. One child that has really shone this session is Abraham.

Abraham has Down’s syndrome. His parents sought out a variety of methods to work with him, and The Theater Factory has been a tremendous blessing to him and his family. The other children in the class don’t treat him like he’s different; he is just like any other kid in Ish’s class.

She has found that the theater exercises come naturally to children, where adults would have difficulty.

“It is amazing what these kids achieve in six months. It is really beautiful,” Ish says.

The Theater Factory is presenting its two original plays on Sunday, March 1 at the Little Theater at Chabot College in Hayward, California. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door or through The Theater Factory.

For more information, please call (510) 709-5082 or CLICK here.



'Betty and Her Feast' & 'The Ugly Buckling'
Sunday, Mar 1, 2015, 4:30 p.m.
Chabot College
Little Theater, Bldg. 1200
25555 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, California
(510) 709-5082
www.thetheaterfactory.com
Tickets $10



[Courtesy: TriCity Voice. Edited for sikhchic.com]
Februarty 27, 2015
 

Conversation about this article

1: Harleen Singh (Sunnyvale, California, USA), February 28, 2015, 8:19 PM.

Ish is a multifaceted person. She has been an inspiration to many film makers and creative people. She always lends a helping hand and takes out time from her busy schedule to help Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike. May Waheguru always bless her.

Comment on "Ish Amitoj Kaur &
The Theater Factory "









To help us distinguish between comments submitted by individuals and those automatically entered by software robots, please complete the following.

Please note: your email address will not be shown on the site, this is for contact and follow-up purposes only. All information will be handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Sikhchic reserves the right to edit or remove content at any time.