Over the course of the summer 2014, ECDP toured Ramayana to 4 outdoor locations across Essex. The show, which featured 4 professional stilt walkers from the Foundation of Indian Performing Arts (FIPA), formed part of the programme at local festivals, sea fronts and town shows, attracting audiences of over 5,000 people and providing performance opportunities for just over 200 children from Years 5 and 6.
The show is currently the on version of the Ramayana performed on stilts in the world. The story is a Hindi epic, which tells the story of Rama’s journey to rescue his wife Sita from the evil clutches of Ravan, King of Lanka.
3 schools in Epping and Harwich took part in a specially designed workshop programme as part of the project. In Colchester and Chelmsford, children, young people and their families were invited to take part in the performance. Picked from the audience by compere and Artistic Director of FIPA, Hi Ching, they chose a side to fight on in the epic battle scene – monkeys or demons.
Each performance was accompanied by D.E.A (the Dhol Enforcement Agency) from Leicester. Together with the stilt walkers, each performance featured a ‘carnival-style’ procession through the town to the outside performance area. The project provided ECDP with a successful way of engaging communities with traditional folk stories from the Indian sub-continent, reaching a large number of children and families in areas that have little and/or limited access to culturally diverse work and traditions.
I would like to say a big thank you on behalf of all the staff here we have got so much out of working with FIPA and ECDP truly fantastic people with so much talent.