Chota Mota Theatre is a theatrical company which specializes in empowering children by giving them the freedom to act out their heart and expressions on stage, in order to discover their in-born talents.
This theatrical company was founded by a lovely couple, Sarah Zahid and Mobeen Ejaz, who through their mutual love for theatre wish to give children a platform to perform on, to act on, and to create art on. Both of them are graduates of National College of Arts, however, Mobeen holds a degree in Graphic Designing while while Sarah holds a degree in Fine Arts. Before exploring their love for theatre, Mobeen was a part of the corporate world while Sarah was a Copy Writer for Wikkid Plus- Pakistan’s first (now Resting.I.P) children’s channel, and Art Historian at the PIFD.
Pakistan is definitely not low on talent, every now and then we find amazing photographers like Basmah Shahid and heart-warming writers like Safian Bin Rizwan, however, Pakistanis take time to appreciate talents in the field of arts. Parents today believe cramming your textbooks is enough to excel in life, however, that’s not true. Sciences might make a person intellectual, however, arts give food to one’s thought for wild imagination. A person gets creative through expression, and he gains confidence through his skills in art when he shows the public his work. Arts like Theatre, writing and public speaking should be a part of our daily routines taught in our institutions, but not much emphasis is impressed upon these as the elders of today in Pakistan consider it “useless”. This is the reason why children today don’t have creative imaginations, this is why they are shy and not confident enough to address a gathering, and this is why mental stress like depression, frustration and anxiety is common in the present age. Children are not allowed to express themselves freely, rather they are limited to studies and textbooks.
Sarah and Mobeen are trying to break this monotonous chain of studying all the time, as they try to incorporate theatre in the lives of children as an expression of their thoughts and feelings.
Workshops by Chota Mota Theatre were held this summer for children aged 5-11 in order to help them build this confidence, so they can be more free in their expression and speech as they grow up!
Mobeen Ejaz is currently the Dramatics Teacher at Lahore Grammar School Johar Town, Boys Section, and teaches Drama to students from grade 1-8. He has put together 16 plays with the students up until now. Some of his extremely successful and widely appreciated plays include Bholoo- a Punjabi musical adaptation of Oliver Twist, Adventures of Sindbad an original play inspired by Sindbad’s tales, Peter Pan an original play inspired by Peter Pan, and Hum Dekhein Gey an original play based on Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s works.
Sarah Zahid is also teaching at Lahore Grammar School Johar Town, Girls Section. Some of the plays Sarah has put together with the girls from school include an Adaptation of Alice in wonderland in black light, and adaptation of labyrinth in site specific theatre, Imagine – an original play with live songs of the Beatles, Umro Ayar aur Uskay Cheley which was an original play. The following is the cast of the team of Imagine.
When asked why Sarah and Mobeen didn’t practice the careers they got degrees in, we got a reply that:
“For us, theatre began much earlier and became our choice of profession because of our choice to work with children. The corporate world or the art world as in our cases of being a graphic designer and fine artist would just have given us good money, appreciation and some self satisfaction. It wouldn’t have enabled us to cause a change.”
Chota Mota Theatre is also in association with and is the co-founder of Assitej Pakistan which is a global network of theatre for children. Chota Mota Theatre organized the first ever Tamasha Festival in Lahore, which happened earlier this April. The first ever production by this company as a team was brought to stage on this festival, it was a play called Rail Away Station.
It was indeed a huge success. Students from different schools, colleges and universities are a part proud part of Chota Mota Theatre, as they enjoy acting out on stage in front of an audience. Some institutions include University of Lahore, Forman Christian College, etc.
The second play which is set to be staged in October this year is an adaptation of “Bol ke Labb Azaad hain” by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and here’s a glimpse of Mobeen sitting with the team discussing their upcoming play:
Its amazing for us to find people who are so determined and passionate towards freedom of expression through theatre, and we appreciate the works and efforts of Chota Mota Theatre from the core of our hearts.
We hope to see you grow as a company, and wish you the very best for all your upcoming plays and your future!