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Monday, March 02, 2009

Theatre Of the People: Multi-Ethnic Theatre Groups

http://www.theatreofthepeople.org


Multi-Ethnic Theatre Groups

Initiating, instituting and maintaining multi ethnic theatre groups is a highly successful experiment carried out by Janakaraliya. We have realistically demonstrated through Janakaraliya that potential and ability of theatre arts to inculcate positive ingredients of peaceful and harmonious coexistence within multi ethnic communities is quite remarkable.

Full time Theatre Group

The Janakaraliya full time theatre group was established in the year 2004 with a multi ethnic composition of Sinhala and Tamil youth as an experimental crusade. At the time of recruitment the members of our theatre group were unskilled school leavers hailing from destitute rural Sinhala and Tamil families. These young men and women from Sinhala and Tamil communities engaged in a war that has lasted for more than two decades, were housed full time under the same roof. They were educated thoroughly on the theory and practical applications of theatre arts as well as important social issues. Learning together as a single family facilitated the Sinhala youth to acquire skills and usage of the Tamil language and the Tamil youth to acquire skills in the usage of Sinhala language.

As a result the first ever multi ethnic theatre group was able to produce all the dramas produced by them in both Sinhala and Tamil languages. With this newly acquired language skills facilitated them to understand each other better. Experiences gained during the past four years on theatre arts and other Janakaraliya programmes have toned their skills well enabling them to continue with the programmes envisaged by Janakaraliya.

Janakaraliya Zonal Drama Groups

Wherever Janakaraliya traveled, it has created tremendous enthusiasm and degree of excitement among the local population. As a means of sustaining and nourishing these positive trends among the people Janakaraliya has created a communication network linking these local drama and arts groups and helped them by educating them on theory and practical aspects of theatre arts. Thus three Zonal groups have been established in three districts, a mixed group centered in Anuradhapura and Hambanthota and a Tamil group in Nuwara Eliya. Members of these Zonal groups are also hailing from family backgrounds similar to those of the full time members. They have already produced several short and long dramas and are performing them in their localities keeping in par with the vision and objectives of Janakaraliya.

Independent Drama Groups

As already mentioned Janakaraliya has created tremendous enthusiasm among the local population wherever they traveled. In some places art and theatre lovers have formed their own independent drama groups. We always help enthusiastic local drama and theatre groups to re-organize their theatre arts groups, providing opportunities and motivating them to perform for the audiences in our theatres, popularizing their creations and thereby introducing them to audiences which them some recognition. There are two such groups in Polonnaruwa and Monaragala.

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