The Rural We: Pooja Ru Prema
Photo by Sabine Vollmer von Falken
Pooja Ru Prema brings original and site-specific theatrical experiences to the community with her Rogue Angel Theatre Company. She loves performing for and working with her community and she encourages everyone to participate. But you don’t have to be an actor to work on her projects, as every piece is aimed to bring people out of their comfort zones and experience her unique vision of theater that is fueled not only by her passion but by the love of her surroundings.
I originally came here to attend Bard College at Simon’s Rock in 1999. I was born in South India and moved to Long Island at the age of four but I had very limited experience in nature. When I came to the Berkshires for the first time I was blown away by the vibrancy of the natural world here. It fuels my passion and creative vision. After college, I traveled a lot before kind of serendipitously moving back to the Berkshires seven years ago. I now live in Glendale (Stockbridge) in such a magical setting.
I’m Artistic Director of Rogue Angel Theatre Company. I’m really inspired by my Indian roots, where theater is ritual-based, usually outdoors and very much community minded. Those three things go together so well for theater. It involves all the senses, so you’re never just watching; sometimes it involves moving or even tasting. That’s how I’m creating theater; by bringing a much-needed magic and liveliness to it.
Photo by Peggy Reeves
The projects that I do come from my vision, usually inspired by a physical location from some area in the Berkshires. I did a project under a bridge in Housatonic, I have one coming up that takes place in an alleyway in Great Barrington and I just did a piece called Endure where I was in the Green River for a half hour. I am about to put on a project over the Fourth of July weekend called The Theatre of Freedom. All the audience knows is where they are to meet me, but not where the actual production is taking place. The air of mystery and surprise really takes viewers out of their element for a deeper theater experience.
I like to reach out into the community and work with people who aren’t necessarily actors or dancers. Many people want to perform but don’t have the time to put into it—they’re working or raising a family—but they have hidden talents and gifts. Ultimately I want to travel to different places and put on workshops and create site-specific pieces around the world. I would love to go back to India and travel more, but the Berkshires would be my base.
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