If Sudha Mutual’s first stage was her school, her most-performed act was skipping classes. Parched in a caste-based discriminatory atmosphere, she was all too familiar with last benches, blurry blackboards, and the big thorny neglect. So, off the truant went to create her oasis in the fields, by playing dough with mud, unearthing worms, and sailing paper-boats when rains obliged. She was familiar, too, with the economy at home as her loving parents ploughed the fields and the family of seven led a hand-to-mouth existence, which forced her to drop out of school once.
Her dream, then, settled into this big picture. She aspired to teach and secure a government job for financial stability. But today, 28-year-old Sudha stands in her village, Bannikoppa, an agrarian settlement in Koppal, as a theatre artiste and says, “It’s a service I’ve been in for ten years now. In this journey, I’ve realized how theatre can change a person. It has given me dignity; it has given me an identity in society. I know people here have talents… maybe not formal education… and I intend to mine, nurture and bring them to light through performing arts.”
To this end, she runs her year-old NGO, Aksharadavva Savithri Bhai Phule Kalaranga Samsthe, which trains the villagers, especially women and children, in theatre, dance, music, etc. The name, she says, comes from her role model, the social reformer, poet and teacher who championed women’s education.
Tags: Sudha Muttal | Youngest Drama Artiste | Karnataka | Theatre Artist | Empower Youth and Rural Women