YATRA Arts Media was founded in 2002 by Yatra Srinivassan. Yatra utilizes short films and theater as an educational tool on societal problems that range anywhere from littering to alcoholism. Dhanamma, a short film that tells the story of a girl who is forced to work to maintain her family instead of going to school because of her father’s alcoholism. Meanwhile Mattram highlights the importance of hygiene and why trash should be properly sorted.
YATRA takes an interesting approach to casting. In short films, the actors are usually already associated with the organization. The theatre groups are different because there is a strong push to use the local people. The traveling theatre groups gather their audience by word of mouth and announcements on megaphones. Ultimately, the goal is to gather as much audience participation as possible.
After film screenings or theater performances, Yatra begins by opening up a discussion about the topic. Yatra explains that often, local viewers are hesitant to open the discussion but are open to talk once the discussion gets going.
YATRA also offers tuition (an after-school program within this context). Students can choose from a wide variety of artistic activities; dance, paint, music and acting. Art exhibitions are held at the facility in order to exhibit the art created by the students.
They help keep traditional song and dance alive while still providing children a safe space to attend after school.