Dr. Zulfia Shaikh on Communication, Speech and Drama
Dr. Zulfia Shaikh, has the distinction of being a double graduate with distinction in Effective Communication and Drama. She is the only Indian qualified by the Trinity Guildhall College to teach Communication Skills not only in India but in UK and all the Commonwealth countries as well. Dr. Zulfia is a medical doctor by profession, who jumped the fence to pursue her passion in theatre and oration.
What made you shift from being a practicing doctor to a theatre practitioner?
Yes, I jumped the fence because fourteen years back when I came to Bangalore I saw the need of it here. There was no communication skill and theatre training for children in this city and that is when Bangalore School of Speech and Drama happened in 2001. Before I knew, this grew and I feel blessed. Not many people get to make money out of the things they love doing and I am absolutely lucky I would say.
What are the courses offered by the Bangalore School of Speech and Drama?
The School provides various speech & drama related courses for children such as voice training, phonetics, narration, prose & poetry reading, training on stage presence, posture and poise etc. It follows a syllabus charted by the Trinity College of London.
The Basic level course is one year long with 1 hour classes once a week culminating in a BSSD certification. The Students completing the Basic courses graduate to the Advanced level where classes are 2 hours long, once a week and culminates in a Trinity Guildhall Certification. The school also runs short courses focusing on different areas of performance, for example mime, body movement in theatre, drama, public speaking and story telling. Also there is Vocal Impact which is an offshoot of BSSD specializing in designing training programs for schools, universities and the corporate sector and deals in various programs like effective listening, presentation skills, overcoming inhibitions, assertive communication and theatre as a communication tool.
What is the admission procedure like for the Bangalore School of Speech and Drama?
We firmly believe in a child’s innate ability. I do not interview the children but interview the parents instead. It is very important to find out about the parent’s interest in the entire process. Yes it does get challenging for me to deal with certain kids but I have no qualms as I feel there is no point in interviewing the child. Every child must be given an opportunity.
What do you think of professional English theatre in Bangalore?
Frankly, I feel that there is an audience now. Given the diverse populous, it surely is catching up. However, performers and directors in particular need to raise the bar a little bit. Entertainment does not always have to be mindless. If there is quality performance, the audience will come back.
How important is to be exposed to theatre and communication skills at a tender age?
It is extremely important. The young mind is so malleable and hasn’t been conditioned by society. All I do is guide them and they literally take off. If I were to be little critical, I would say that most schools today, personal nurturing is extremely poor and that is why it becomes necessary to provide some kind of a platform for the children to be able to express and be themselves.
Would theatre be an advisable career choice today?
I am not trying to tell the children that they have to do theatre per say. They need to plan right and at the right time otherwise they might dissuade. At the moment it might not be lucrative but a positive shift and dynamic boom is definite in the entertainment industry.
Bangalore School of Speech and Drama
529, 16th A Cross, 3rd Main, Sector 6
Madivala, Bangalore -560034 Map