I am Taha Abdul Majeed. I am pleased to inform you that I recently got accepted at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University for the MFA Technical Design and Production program. Before I ask you for a favor, let me tell you a little bit…
…About me & my journey:
I come from a Mappila family from a place called Pavaratty, situated in the coastal area of Chavakkad Taluk in Thrissur district, Kerala. After completing my schooling here, I moved to Delhi where I completed my bachelor’s in Psychology from Delhi University and master’s degree in Film Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi.
Theatre performance has always been part of my life ever since I first went up on stage for a fancy-dress performance during my kinder garden days. The art form and its collective energy intrigued me. The energy and inspiration it evoked in me were beyond comparison. I participated in several performances during my school and college time. During my MA, I was fortunate to study under and later work with some of the leading directors in India such as Deepan Sivaraman and Dr. Anuradha Kapur. Under their mentorship, I became increasingly interested in the materiality of the performance and I realized the key role played by design and fabrication in theatre making. This also contributed to the shift in my interest within theatre, from being a performer to being more focused on fabrication, design and production management work. My experience there helped me build skills in emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and leadership. And it motivated me to further pursue theatre practice professionally.
Today I have worked on a handful of recognized theatre productions in India. During this time, I am a core member of Performance Studies Collective (PSC), a theatre ensemble based in Delhi. I have collaborated with the Collective in putting together theatre productions experimenting with forms, widely acclaimed by peers and performed at international festivals across countries. Specifically, have been fortunate enough to work with some of the leading theatre-makers in the country and I became increasingly I am interested in technical design, fabrication, and production management. Having worked in the theatre space for the past six years, I recognize the scope of technical innovation in our current theatre practice. If you wish to know more about my work, here is a link to my portfolio.
About the course:
The professional theatre scene in India is as challenging as exciting as it could be. These challenges could very much be a learning opportunity, however, due to a lack of professional technical training, I met with some setbacks in my work. And thus, began my quest for a course that could help me advance my career. During my research, I came across several technical theatre courses but one, in particular, caught my eye. It was the MFA Technical Design and Production program at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University (previously known as the Yale School of Drama) (now known as the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University).
Looking at the course structure, I was excited to see how the course weaves technique, production, and design as seamless categories and firmly acknowledges the designing involved (conceptual and physical) in the technical process. The course views the technical designer as a person working carefully on building the conceptual foundations of the work and equips him/her to co-produce and evolve the artistic vision into a full-fledged production. With its emphasis on diverse technical aspects of theatre production such as management, stage machinery, and automation as well as theatre planning and consulting along with the rigorous hands-on professional practice, I will be able to further explore the possibilities of understanding and using technology as a collaborative art, which I believe is an integral element of theatre-making. Moreover, it will help me immensely in developing my work into practice-based research within academia as well as help enrich and further envision the technical design and production practice in India. If you wish to know more about the course, here is a link to the program website.
I was in fact accepted for the 2020 - 2021 academic year. As the Covid-19 crisis paralyzed the world in 2020, I had to make several adjustments to my study plans. Like most students, I too spent a year studying online. Despite all the challenges I was all set to travel last year. Unfortunately, I tested positive for corona and that delayed my travel plans even further which led me to the decision of deferring a year. I shall finally be joining the course offline this year. The classes are scheduled to begin on August 19th.
Now, I am incredibly grateful to announce that, the school has offered me a scholarship that covers my tuition fee, living expenses, and health insurance. However, the scholarship does not cover the travel and other costs I may incur as part of moving to a new country. I am trying to raise this fund for my travel expenses to New Haven CT, with some starter money that I will need to settle-in in a new country.
I need an estimated ($1130 to $1645 USD) Rs.1,29,800 INR for my starter money. Below is the breakdown of the expected amount:
- Protective Gear (safety shoes, hardhat, and gloves are a compulsory requirement for the course) = Rs. 15,780.74 to Rs. 19,726.18
- Security Deposit for House – (Equivalent to 1- or 1.5-month rent) =
Rs 73,380.91 to Rs. 1,10,071.99
- Starter Money – Rs. 1,29,800
- SEVIS fee (350 USD) - Rs. 27, 617.28
- Visa Fee (160 USD) - Rs. 12,625.20
- Flight tickets - Rs. 85,000
- Total: Rs. 2,55,042
PS: Please find attached below my Letter of Acceptance in case you wish to view my offer of admission.