What can you do to stick to your passion? How far can you go to chase your dreams? How determined can you become to follow your interests? With a remarkable resolve to take their aspirations to the next level, Vayam – The Performing Arts Society was formed by a consonant group of alumni of Shivaji College, University of Delhi. Vayam is an independent performing arts group based in Delhi registered under the Societies Regulations Act 1860. Run by an ideal blend of actors, directors, script writers, technicians and working professionals, the group has a stronghold in the Delhi theatre circuit with an expanding base in Mumbai. Vayam performs on regular basis at competitive and non-competitive platforms across India and their street plays and stage productions are based on myriad of thought-provoking issues.
With ‘EK Rishte Ki Maut’– A play by Vayam to be performed at Akshara Theatre on 24th of December, we bring to you an interview with Prateek Bedi (Treasurer and an active member of Vayam – The Performing Arts Society) who told us all about Vayam’s inception, journey and its future goals.
“‘Vayam’ means ‘We’ in Sanskrit. It signifies the core values of the organisation – Togetherness, Integrity, Creativity and Social Empowerment. We wanted to have a different name but at the same time we wanted it to reflect our core values and define our united front. And Vayam is just perfect as our name and identity.” – Prateek Bedi, member, Vayam
1. How does Vayam – the theatre society of Shivaji College differ from Vayam – The Performing Arts Society?
Vayam – The Theatre Society of Shivaji College and Vayam – The Performing Arts Society, are essentially two sides of the same coin. The most significant thread that binds the two organisations is the set of values and virtues they share. Since the professional unit has been founded by people who were once a part of the college society, there is a visible homogeneity and concurrence in the style of working and principles that both organisations share. However, there is a clear demarcation of authority and responsibility with regard to spheres of work that both groups handle. The college wing has an independent leadership who vigorously looks after the advancement of the unit in the campus theatre circuit. On the other hand, the professional society has a distinct legal identity and a competent organisational structure which works tirelessly to make the organisation grow and prosper in the professional ambit. Both organisations share a mutual relationship of togetherness and synergy in their area of work and conduct. They are of immense support to each other and leverage each other’s strengths to advance their goals and objectives.
2. How did Vayam make this transition from a college society to a performing arts group? When did you decide that it was time to take it beyond the college circuit and what challenges did you face to during this transition?
Vayam – The Theatre Society of Shivaji College, University of Delhi was started by a bunch of like minded creative enthusiasts in 2006. Vayam’s maiden performance of the street play called ‘Kashtomer’, which talked of consumer awareness, fetched them the third prize at Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi in August 2006. It was in 2007 when the society grabbed the attention and admiration of the DU crowd with the stage adaptation of ‘Bade Bhai Sahab’ by Munshi Premchand when it swept almost every competitive platform and established a unique identity for the society. Further, the society blossomed under the aegis, support and guidance of its alumni. But though the society was doing well in the DU circuit, there were times when this ‘college’ tag, held back Vayam from stepping into the professional Delhi theatre scene and partner with other organisations in an official/legal capacity. Therefore, we decided to form Vayam – The Performing Arts Society where we could finally collaborate professionally and step into the Delhi theatre scene at a much larger scale.
Taking our college society to another level by getting a legal identity wasn’t easy for us. All the alumni who had been a part of college society were mostly pursuing different careers in finance, banking, IT, research, social work, photography etc. To get everyone together and work comprehensively towards the establishment and growth of Vayam was challenging. Moreover, initially we went through tough times during registration as most of our members were spread out across the country. Since we have been recently registered, we are trying to work our way through initial challenges of holding commercial performances, entering into professional partnerships etc. But we are working relentlessly to make a mark and a young & dynamic force of determined thespians is facing obstacles with courage and commitment.
3. It is hard to make theatre work while attending college as a student, how do you manage to do it as working professionals?
In Vayam, we have a strong and dedicated team of 30 people from diverse fields of photography, finance, banking, IT, research, etc. This diversity is one of our biggest advantages. We work quite systematically. We have a conference call every Sunday evening to discuss all the affairs. There is also a core team of 11 members – Lakshya, which works incessantly for smooth working of Vayam’s affairs. As of now, all our team members are alumni of the college society and are available to participate and work for the organisation selflessly. Since Delhi is our core base of development as of now, we have a distinct wing of individuals who work for projects in the city and are active throughout the year.
4. Tell us something about your latest production ‘Ek Rishte Ki Maut.‘ What differentiates it from the regular relationship and happily ever after plays?
The basic theme of the play is – the changing dynamics of relationships in this fast paced world; where genuine love, attraction, happiness and care is somewhere getting lost between the deadlines and ego clashes. The couple in ‘Ek Rishte Ki Maut’ are lost in the cloud of smoke of their egos and misunderstandings, which slowly chokes their true emotions and love for each. Their petty fights reach to a point where they decide to divorce each other and break those vows to love unconditionally and irrevocably. It’s an ego versus love, and fairytale versus practicality, fight.
It’s a unique play which will grip you till the very end by its distinctive narrative technique, acting and dialogues. The play works as a time machine; it takes you to the good old sweet and sour memories of your relationship. It teaches you to love and you begin to value your partner all the more after watching the play. The play has the ability to make you smile and emotional at the same time. It’s a play which will completely engross the audience right from the beginning itself and would force them to deeply reflect and ask some serious questions about their demeanor and approach towards relationship.
5. What’s next for Vayam?
We, at Vayam – The Performing Arts Society want to be the best performing arts group in the world by all means and aspects. We want to become a versatile and inclusive group of artists spread across plethora of art forms. Additionally, we want to improve the condition of art forms and artists, in and outside country by making performing arts more acceptable, popular and commercially profitable for the ones pursuing a career in this field. Moreover, we want to increase the range and number of our productions and expand ourselves in all potential fields of performing arts.
You can find them here:
Twitter Account: @WeAreVayam
Instagram Account: vayam_performingarts