Fostering international exposure for drama and theatre students | Sunday Observer

Fostering international exposure for drama and theatre students

The Tower Hall Theatre Foundation (THTF) in its present stewardship, under Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as its Ex-officio Chairman, and Director General former Sri Lanka Administrative Service officer Lionel Fernando, has made some noteworthy endeavours to contribute to the sphere of drama and theatre in the country.

Last year the THTF was instrumental in organizing the commemoration events in view of the 60th anniversary of the late Prof. Ediriweera Sarathchandra’s play Maname. In January this year the late theatre maestro John de Silva’s Ramayanaya was revived and staged after thirty seven years, as a three day show run at the Tower Hall in Colombo as an initiative of the THTF. Recently, the THTF organized a three day drama and theatre workshop and a special lecture with the resource expertise of Prof. Jurij Alschitz, a theatre researcher, an educator and teacher on theatre, as well as an author who has written books on theatre pedagogy. Alschitz who is of Russian origin is a German citizen who has by now taught theatre students in many parts of the world. He had received his first training as a director in Moscow, Russia, under Prof. J. Malkovsky, who was incidentally, at that time, one of the last living pupils of the legendary Konstantin Stanislavski, best known for having created the Stanislavski system of actor training, and a co-founder of the Moscow Art Theatre.

The THTF in its quest to foster better international exposure for their students enrolled in the Diploma course held a three day workshop conducted by Alschitz from 31 January to 2 February at the Ape Gama premises in Pelawatte, Battaramulla, and conducted the special public lecture on Acting Practice on 3 February, at the Sausiripaya auditorium.

Sampath Perera, one of the coordinators of the Diploma course at the THTF brought to my knowledge that apart from the twenty students of the THTF, about fifty past pupils, now in active practice as thespians and theatre practitioners, joined as observers for the sessions.

The open lecture on 3 February had seen the participation of a much wider range of stakeholders in the field of drama and theatre, said Perera.

He said, veteran practitioners like Lucian Bulathsinghala, and Dharmasiri Bandaranaike had also attended this open lecture where a very fruitful dialogue had developed between the participants and Alschitz. Perera noted that a number of school teachers who teach drama and theatre at school level had also participated, and one of the key topics discussed, which had been of significance was how performing arts can be better taught using the technological advancements of today. The efforts of the THTF must be lauded and applauded for having the vision and the will to bring in resource persons with expertise on drama and theatre to impart their knowledge on the subject among students and practitioners here. Hopefully, the THTF will continue with these kinds of projects to help foster a more robust and artistically enriched theatre culture in Sri Lanka. 

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