This profile was prepared when Sunil Pokharel was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1988.
The New Idea
Sunil has gathered together a core troupe of a dozen professional but, in effect, volunteer actors. They have demonstrated that they can go to the different regions of Nepal and help local people with an interest master the use of live theater, a mastery they try to focus on social issues. He may well be able to use the medium to help bring family planning, environmental safety, and other messages to rural Nepal, in the process developing a financial base for his work since many of the agencies, both public and private, working in these areas have found other forms of communications disappointing ineffective.Sunil's approach is simple and quick. He travels to the area and gets a sense of both local concerns and whatever local music or dramatic traditions exists. Since most areas don't have stages or electricity, he writes a play around these concerns, incorporating the area's artistic traditions, that can be staged easily in an open courtyard or on a street.