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Somalatha Subasinghe Theatre annual festival from 9 to 12 Aug. at Lionel Wendt

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Somalatha Subasinghe Play House presents its annual theatre festival for children and youth from 9 to 12 August, at Lionel Wendt Theatre. 

The festival will feature the following four plays produced by Somalatha Subasinghe Play House: Vikurthi (Distortion) written and directed by Somalatha Subasinghe on 9 August; Ratmalee (Red Riding Hood) and Punchi Apata Dan Therei (Little Red Hen) written and directed by Somalatha Subasinghe on 10 August and “Walas Pawula” (The Three Bears and Goldilocks) written by Somalatha Subasinghe and directed by Chandana Aluthge on 11 and 12 August. 

Ratmalee, Punchi Apata Dan Therei and Walas Pawula

All these plays are musical productions which are based on international folk and fairy tales. They are produced with the objective to instil in children, a sense of basic art forms and a pride in our own culture as well as to promote the importance of the institution of family and its values. In addition, the lessons of love, humanity and world awareness are refreshingly presented in these plays. In the adaptations, new characters and situations have been incorporated particularly to facilitate an intellectual and entertaining discourse with the Sri Lankan child. 

Punchi Apata Dan Therei (We know it Now) is ​a prescribed text for Grade six drama and theatre and Grade nine Sinhala Language and literature.

Vikurthi (Distortion)

Vikurthi is an original play and is a satirical exposure of hapless generation of youth whose lives were dominated by incessant struggle between the parents’ aspirations and the youth’s abilities and preferences. In the 1980’s, at the time the drama was conceived, the wide spread social tendency was that the aspiring parents trying to achieve the missed opportunities of their own lives through their children. Consequently, the children were forced to study for competitive government examinations such as GCE (O/L) and GCE (A/L), specifically in the Science Stream disregarding their aptitudes and available resources at respective schools and the universities. The play discusses in depth how this anti-social process denied youth of their own life, which in turn deeply affects them in many ways. The production is a semi-musical which is a familiar theatrical experience to the local audiences. 

Vikrthi was first performed in 1982 in Colombo and since then had performed more than 1500 performances in Sri Lanka in the last 36 years. The play is considered a land mark theatre production and as a result Vikurthi became a trend setter of new style of modern theatre in Sri Lanka. It is also considered as a pioneering effort of youth theatre concept in Sri Lanka. The professional theatre group of Somalatha Subasinghe Play House has performed “Vikurhti’ in English in major cities in India and Australia in 2000. The play has received well by the foreign audiences.

​Vikurthi is a prescribed text for drama and theatre for GCE O/L and the performance on 9th August is a good opportunity for ​​students, who are sitting for GCE O/L examination shortly, to watch the play with their parents. ​

The production style of these plays has been developed so as to give the audiences an aesthetic journey of entertainment. 

It’s possible that you grew up with Somalatha Subasinghe’s plays. So now it’s time to introduce your children to them. And if neither you nor your child has ever seen them, then it really is not an experience you should miss.

The cast includes Wickrama Seneviratne, Mayura Perera, Saviour Kanishka, Thilakshini Ratnayake, Kumudu Wickramathanthri, Geetha Alahakoon, Thiwanka Ranasinghe, Dhanushka Dias, Nipuni Sharada, Chamara Gamaathige, Sameera Lakmal Wimalasiri, Keshika Koralage, Nayathara de Silva, Nipuni Sharada, Pramod Edirisinghe, Renuka Liyanage, Dilip Kumara Koralage, Susith Ishantha and Kesara Hasarinda.  Somalatha Subasinghe Play House (SSPH) was established in 1981 by the Late Somalatha Subasinghe as a voluntary organisation to further course of theatre for Children and Youth in Sri Lanka. Over the years, it has produced a repertoire of internationally acclaimed theatre for Children and Youth and award-winning mainstream theatre productions. The professional theatre group has showcased Sri Lankan culture at a number of international Children’s theatre festivals in Europe and Asia. This institution was incorporated in the parliament in January 2007 under the Act of Lanka Children’s and Youth Theatre Foundation (LCYTF), No. 3 of 2007 to further its quest for the young audiences in Sri Lanka. 

LCYTF is the national representative of ASSITEJ International, a global network for theatre for children and youth that spans across continents. Through ASSITEJ International LCYTF promotes artists engaged in children’s and youth theatre to take part in international seminars, workshops, festivals, etc. LYCTF was conferred the “Bunka Award” presented by the Embassy of Japan for the Best Achievement in Performing Arts in 1997. In 2005, Kaushalya Fernando, an Artistic Director of LCYTF was conferred the “Bunka Award” for her outstanding contribution to theatre arts and acting. 


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