Strategic Management in the Art of Theatre (SMART) Programme

What is SMART?

Strategic Management in the Art of Theatre (SMART) is a capacity building programme for theatre groups in India that addresses their need to understand the role of strategic thinking and management in their work. This is a collaborative project where practitioners from theatre and management collectively share their experiences and learnings through a structured pedagogic process. The goal is to sharpen thinking and the working processes of the groups, leading them to create three-year strategic road maps for themselves.

Background:

India is a land rich in the arts, especially theatre. As a living, breathing part of India’s sociocultural fabric, theatre has enthralled, impacted and transformed audiences throughout the country, through the ages, in various forms.

The people who create this wonderful theatre pour their heart and soul, their passion and commitment into their creations. And each of them has a larger dream and vision. Sometimes, all they need is the know-how to create a practical road map that will help them realise their dreams.

SMART aims to equip theatre practitioners with the skills and expertise necessary to build this strategic plan — practical, achievable, grounded in their specific reality. This enables the group to be more sustainable, effective, efficient, and financially viable. All this, so that they can be truly free, creatively, to let their dreams soar.

Need analysis for Capacity Building:

Most theatre practitioners in India have to deal with many aspects outside their direct creative process to sustain their work in theatre – including administration, publicity, fundraising, etc. Though experts are available in these areas, very often we feel constrained to afford them as practitioners, and that their expertise may not always address our contexts, constraints, and approach to the world. At SMART, we believe that if the larger theatre community had some basic skills to approach and tackle these areas with less hindrance - we would all have more time, thought and energy to devote to the creative aspects.

The Core Team members and facilitators of SMART are made up mostly of practitioners from the field of theatre itself, arts management and arts philanthropy. Coming from within the field and having made considerable efforts to survey the need for a theatre management programme over the past few years, we initiated the very first SMART programme in January 2015. This turned out to be a remarkable experience which reinforced the dire need for such a programme, as well as the readiness of the theatre community to venture down this ‘untrodden’ path and embrace all the demands such a course would make on them and their practice. 

SMART: A Collaborative Effort:

SMART was conceived by the SMART Core Team and India Theatre Forum (ITF), and managed by India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) and Junoon. The SMART Core Team comprises Sameera Iyengar, Arundhati Ghosh, Sanjna Kapoor, Sunil Shanbag, Sudhanva Deshpande and Ashish Mehta.

India Theatre Forum (ITF) is a loose and informal network of practitioners which seeks to strengthen theatre practice through various interventions. ITF hopes to create and consolidate resources for theatre practitioners and provide a common platform for those willing to take on the public responsibility of pushing for excellence and diversity in theatrical endeavours. To read more on ITF, visit www.theatreforum.in

Junoon, Mumbai, is an arts organisation and social enterprise that seeks to embed the richness of the arts into the lives of people across India. Through its various engagements and programmes, Junoon makes the arts accessible and weaves them into everyday life. The organisation strongly believes these immersive experiences are essential for a healthy, collective, human experience. To read more on Junoon, visit www.junoontheatre.org

SMART is possible because a group of people saw the necessity of a strategic management programme, specifically tailored for the Indian context, and consolidate their efforts to conceiving and designing the programme, and training themselves to run it. It is also possible because there were organisations with vision that could see the value of the programme and came forward to support it with resources and funds.

SMART seeks partnership/support from organisations that believe, like us, that capacity building lies at the core of empowering theatre to become a thriving, creative, innovative and impactful practice, and are willing to become partners on this journey, by building a strong and independent culture of professionalism, leading to job opportunities and institutional development in the field of culture. Our partner organisations can help us become agents of change and help us build capacity in theatre practitioners to move towards greater economic development within the creative sector in India.

SMART is currently supported by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi. Our past donors include Royal Norwegian Embassy; Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi; Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS); and Bajaj Group.