SMART (Strategic Management in the Art of Theatre)

India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) is happy to be associated with India Theatre Forum (ITF) for SMART - the first ever strategic management course for theatre practitioners. IFA is partnering with Junoon to manage the course for ITF.

SMART (Strategic Management in the Art of Theatre) is a residential capacity building programme for theatre makers that will be conducted in three phases over six months which will include mentorship with senior practitioners as well. It aims to make a theatre group or organisation more sustainable, effective, financially viable and capable of giving shape to their creative dreams. SMART will help theatre groups build a practical and achievable plan.

Arundhati Ghosh, our Executive Director is a core team member of SMART and has helped put this programme together with Sameera Iyengar, Sanjna Kapur, Sudhanva Deshpande and Swati Apte. She will be one of the course facilitators looking after the fundraising aspect, sharing her experience, knowledge, challenges and stories with the participants.

SMART is now inviting applications. To know more and to apply for the course, click here.

Asked whether this course brings together management as taught in business schools to theatre practice, Arundhati Ghosh says
"The key idea of this programme is to STOP seeing 'management' as a set of tool kits that fit everything from a company that makes fashion products, to an NGO that serves senior citizens, a school that is for children with special abilities or a theatre group that makes contemporary performances. It is neither a set of solutions that can be applied to problems  emerging out of various different contexts nor borrowed principles from other sectors to be thrust onto theatre practitioners. What this programme aims to do is that it opens up possibilities for theatre practitioners to see their work in the larger socio-economic context, make them aware of the challenges and possibilities that lie within those contexts and then leverage their own strengths to run groups that can effectively make great performance work that is sustainable over time. Much of the knowledge and experience of such work lies within the field itself; thus much of the learning will happen through collaborative sharing of case studies and experiences of practitioners. Specially in the area I will take on - fundraising - of course there will be discussions on ways and means of fundraising, what sources can be approached, how to create proposals what is the readyness required for a group to begin engaging with fundraising etc - but what would be more important for the groups would be to see fundraising not as a separate limb but an integral part of 'why they do theatre' - as important as any other part of their theatre making, but ultimately only in service of that theatre making. It will have to be born out of the values they hold dear and what is non negotiable for them. So it is more of learning ways of doing things and then figuring out for each group how they would like to approach fundraising."

Asked how the course is unique, Sameera Iyengar, course director says
"SMART is unique in that it is designed specifically for the reality of theatre practice in India. The project development team and all the facilitators are people who work with theatre in some capacity - as practitioners themselves, or as arts managers who engage with theatre regularly. In our country, the theatre practitioner is usually also the one who has to take on administrative and management responsibilities of their theatre groups. Moreover, the environments and contexts of different theatre practices across India also vary quite a lot - even from metro to metro, the theatre practitioner in Mumbai faces quite a different reality from the theatre practitioner in Delhi, and both their realities differ enough from the Kolkata one as well - and so on.These and other key understandings inform the design of the course, which aims to be a do-it-youself training - equipping participants with approaches, understandings, examples and skills to enhance the way their ability to address their own specific realities. Course material will draw richly from theatre practices across India which have been innovative and impactful in the way they have addressed their contexts. This is another unique feature, allowing all participants to learn from existent practices in India as they work to develop their own approaches and frameworks of strategic management, to make their theatre dreams soar."