Our centre was established in 1990 in Shantiniketan (West Bengal), India. It is a centre for practical research. Here, surrounded by nature, we have created conditions suitable for studying and training in performative work. It is located within a large tribal, rural zone cultivated by ancient methods. Situated on the edge of a forest, the centre provides accommodation for up to 40 people. The complex includes a traditional Indian kitchen with a large dining room, a central performance hall with a clay floor and an outdoor performing space.
The founder and artistic director of the project was one of the main collaborators of Jerzy Grotowski in Poland and Italy from 1979 to 1983. Over the course of many years, he has brought together and formed a stable team of 15 Indian artists.
The centre sees continuous work activity in the period of October-April. Traditional practitioners and artists from different parts of India (Baul musicians from West Bengal, classical Gotipua dancers from Orissa, tribal Chhau dancers from Purulia Jharkhand, Kalaripayattu masters of martial art from Kerala and a teacher of Hatha Yoga from Assam) come here and stay for short or long term residences. During this time, participants from all over the world join us in our work sessions and in the ongoing research.
Each year, at the end of the winter workshop session, from the 11th to the 13th of January, a 3-day gathering of numerous "sadhus" (monks) from different spiritual currents of India is held.
Every summer, Abani and his team travel to Europe for an artistic tour during which they conduct workshops and present their skills through performances and parades. These take place in some of the most renowned international theatre and art festivals. This tour is at the heart of what enables the group to sustain itself economically and to continue to engage in its process of research and exploration.
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
Travellers will benefit greatly from the cultural exchange provided by our centre as it is located in an area, that is off the touristic itinerary map. They will have the possibility of actively taking part in ancient rituals of Hindu heritage. They will also be exposed to traditional musicians and artists such as Bauls, Sufi Fakirs and Patua story tellers and painters. Anyone with artistic or musical abilities will have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the traditional artists and musicians.
In addition to this, we are also neighbouring Shantiniketan, the town where Rabindranath Tagore established Visva Bharati, his educational institute. This is a centre that specialises in fine arts and Tagore's style of dance-drama.
Our greatest requirement at the moment are people who are able to help us with organizing artistic tours outside India. This entails having experience in the field of international event organisation for performing groups. Equally necessary is help with communication that will provide participants for workshops both in India and abroad.
Other than this, we are looking for people who have skills in web design and online communication in order to recreate our web page, maintain it and establish international connections with participants, organisations, etc.
Finally, we are also happy to have people with good management skills and aesthetic sense who are interested in looking after the centre. This involves a certain amount of household maintenance, gardening and some light farm help.
Bengali (Bangla): Fluent
Our place is set in the midst of nature and the majority of activities take place outdoors.
Volunteers will be provided with basic accommodation consisting of rooms which will either be singly occupied or shared with a maximum of three people (during the workshop), a shared bathroom and a communal kitchen. Accommodation in a small, traditional clay house may also be available.
We request volunteers to bring their own sleeping bags and towels.
The kitchen is managed by a traditional Bengali cook and breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided to all volunteers. Organic vegetables and rice from our own farm are used. Everyone also enjoys a constant supply of tea throughout the day!
During their time off, volunteers can visit the tribal villages in the surroundings. These are very special ethnic pockets that have survived to date in an astonishingly authentic way. Their lifestyles have a lot to offer in terms of anthropological and architectural practices. In addition to this, centres of traditional handicrafts and tribal markets are walking distance away from us and can be of interest. A little further, Visva Bharati (Tagore's educational institute) may also be visited.
We are connected to the nearest town- Bolpur/Shantiniketan by buses of relative frequency. Volunteers can also hire taxis and electric rickshaws if they wish. Rental motorbikes are available in town for those wishing to drive.
For trips beyond Bolpur, trains can be taken from the railway station to all parts of West Bengal and India.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week