Bhubaneswar: Inaugurated on 6th December, BhuFeSto – International Storytelling Festival, part of .FEST (Bhubaneswar City Festival), curated by Bakul Foundation, continues to be known for its unique experiences. With the objective of promoting inclusivity and diversity, the festival curated special storytelling sessions for children with visual and hearing disabilities.
The first session at Indira Gandhi Park today, 8th December, was designed for the visually challenged with a focus of the performance on the use of sounds, music, onomatopoeia and sound-scaping. For this session, Deepa Kiran performed a musical storytelling of a popular story – Ramayana but with a twist. The children enjoyed the interesting plot with various musical instruments that aptly enriched the musical telling. The was session attended by about 70 students and teachers of the BhimaBhoi School for the Blind in Bhubaneswar, about 100 students and teachers of Mother’s Public School and about 130 students and teachers of Capital Girls High School in addition to hundreds of parents with children who had thronged the park for the performances. It was an interesting experience for the children from other schools as they realized how stories could be enjoyed from the sound of the storytelling.
The inclusive nature of BhuFeSto was underscored from the very first session of the festival on 6th December where it held a session was specially designed for children with hearing disabilities. Conceptualized and performed as a tandem performance by Nita Gopalakrishnan, Technical Director, Deaf Child World Wide and Deepa Kiran, a storyteller and International storyteller-educationalist from India), the storytelling was both verbal (in Hindi) by Deepa and in Indian Sign Language by Nita.
This storytelling of the popular ‘Monkey and the Cap Seller” was a visually rich narrative, keeping in mind an interactive performance for the deaf children. A rendition was retold with a twist at the end and use of various visual appeals and drama. As the performance progressed and the interaction kept the children and adults engrossed, the deaf children applauded with the deaf clap of raising their hands and shaking their palms. Consequently, the others in the audience also began to do the deaf clap.
Deepa Kiran, who assisted Bakul Foundation in curating the festival, said, “The idea was to create a special performance for the deaf and also to sensitize the hearing people to change their perception of the deafness as ‘dis-ability’ and understand their ‘cap-ability’.”
According to SujitMahapatra, the Festival Director of BhuFeSto, “It is really special that the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) thought of hosting a storytelling festival focusing on children to create a brand identity for Bhubaneswar, and the inclusive nature of the festival” will contribute significantly to the aspiration of Bhubaneswar to be a child friendly smart city.
BhuFeSto continues till 10th December simultaneously at three locations across the city: the Buddha Jayanti Park in Chandrasekharpur, the Indira Gandhi Park and Kharavela Park in Khandagiri from 2.30PM to 7.30PM and features some of the best storytellers from around the world and from India at BhuFeSto.