Dr. Rajashree SR: Performing Arts - more than just a hobby
Dr. Rajashree is the co-founder of YouAndMe Theatre, which is based in Bangalore. She has 25 years of experience in performing arts and a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communication. Accomplished in her field, Rajashree was selected by IIM Bangalore, NSRCEL, out of 6,000 applicants across India, won the 'Rising Star' Award by Times of India under SheUnLtd, Entrepreneur awards, and is a Chairperson of NEP position paper on ART EDUCATION.
One could say that it would be considered an achievement, if a person has been able to explore and work in a particular field in its complete breadth and depth. It is also important to understand the inner vision and purpose of the person. Dr. Rajashree, In the area of Performing Arts, has explored all of this and more. With regards to the depth of the arts, she has constantly involved herself for the last 28 years, to understand the intricacies of dance and acting - through theoretical study (courses, research and workshops undertaken) and the practical application of it (projects, performances and shows). From a broad approach, she has learnt and performed a variety of performing art forms including dance (Bharatanatyam, Contemporary, Yakshagana, Dance theatre, Folk dances), choreography, acting, and even puppetry. All of this is combined with great organizational skills and leadership qualities to have her unique performing arts company reaching greater heights.
Starting the company
YouAndMe Theatre was founded in 2013, and works in 3 major areas with the aim of making theatre (performing arts) relevant and integral to all demographics. All through this, was a struggle to prove to the world that "Theatre can not only provide for me, but also help in generating income for others, if planned and structured well", says Rajashree. With this goal and focus, along with a strong intuition, the company was started... and Rajashree never looked back. The company now has 3 divisions:
1. Children’s Theatre: Using theatre to teach textbook curriculum.
2. Applied Theatre: Theatre based training in Behaviour, Personality and Business Skills for corporates
3. VYOMA : A one-of-a-kind Performance space, A BlackBox theatre in a prime location in Bangalore
All of this never came easy. Right from her childhood, she did not find the positive support she needed towards her passion – the performing arts. Everyday was a struggle to get her family to allow her to go to rehearsals and practice. There was opposition from everyone including family and friends towards her choosing arts despite getting good marks in school. She faced numerous challenges as well, professionally, such as the fact that theatre and dance are more often than not considered a 'hobby', and are hardly ever considered serious, full-time professions. When it came to bringing her idea to established institutions, she had trouble convincing the panel and mentors at IIM Bangalore, that Theatre can be a viable option for a company. Yet, she continues to follow her passion, and her vision remains strong: “The arts are meant for everyone and not just the artists or the few patrons or connoisseurs. The performing arts help in expression and better understanding of emotions. This immensely helps in building a strong Emotional Health in every individual, which then translates to a happy and peaceful society. A society with Emotionally Healthy people is better capable of handling any kind of crisis and difficulty.
So, I believe that the arts need to be much more present in every individual's life, especially in today’s world, that is filled with conflicts every day.”
With such an illustrious life, she now leads the company that has grown leaps and bounds. In line with her vision, she continues to provide employment to young and talented people in the field of performing arts.