Theatre Fest 2012 stars win tour to University of Canberra

Saturday, 10 November 2012 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The annual Inter School Drama Competition ‘Theatre Fest 2012,’ organised by Alethea International School for the third consecutive year, sponsored by Aspirations Education and Edexcel London Examination in association with Trinity College London, witnessed intense competition with over 10 schools which included those from Nuwara Eliya and Kandy on 25 and 26 October at the Bishop’s College auditorium.

Aspirations Education along with the University of Canberra, Australia offered a round trip to Australia for the best male and female roles. The tour to University of Canberra was awarded to three candidates who bagged the award for best male and female roles: Samantha Modder of Gateway College, Kandy for her superb role as Leontes in A Winter’s Tale, Deanna Fakhir of Alethea as Juliet and Minuri Dharmasena from Gateway, Kandy as Hermione.

Ajith Abeysekera, Chairman of Aspirations Education said, “This opportunity will offer students an occasion to experience Canberra and a day in the life of the University of Canberra, to mingle with international students and faculty at the prestigious university, inspiring them to realise their future career goals by exposing them to the gamut of avenues available which will help them further their education, skill levels and ambitions.”

Coming on the heels of two other Shakespeare drama competitions, Theatre Fest 2012 was Alethea’s answer to the ever-burning need for a holistic education. Students come with varied skills and talents and except for those fortunate enough to excel academically, many are written off as failures. At Alethea International School, theatre is just one other mode of assessing a student and this is why it is not only a competition but an internationally recognised examination.

Kumari Hapugalle Perera, CEO/MD of Alethea International School said, “At Alethea, students are not merely encouraged to dream but to wake up and pursue their dreams with passion and zeal. In order to facilitate this, education is presented in its many facets so as to enable each individual to find his or her own unique way of learning. Thus we have the performing arts – a platform for our young and vibrant artists to exhibit their talents and skills without reserve.”

Premila Paulraj, Asst. Vice President for Edexcel India Subcontinent said, “The outstanding performance by our students speaks of the high quality of education and training provided by schools. Edexcel is committed to nurturing the talents of these students and to create every opportunity to showcase such talents.”

Chief Examiner Valerie Hartman of Trinity College London was left with the difficult task of adjudicating as each school presented some of Shakespeare’s finest plays. The fact that this was not merely a competition but a Grade 8 level international examination from Trinity College London meant quite a heady finale.

Day one saw impressive performances by the participating schools with Romeo and Juliet being the favoured choice of four schools with Macbeth, Hamlet, The Comedy of Errors, A Winter’s Tale, Merchant of Venice and A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream emerging as the other choices. The inclusion of lights and sounds, cleverly designed sets, brilliant costumes and the acting abilities of the young thespians, brought to life Shakespeare’s characters in all their glory.

Day two opened with a breathtaking traditional dance by a bevy of dancers from Alethea International School. The grand finale included performances of the top four schools which were Alethea International School, Colombo International School, Gateway College, Kandy, and Royal College, intercepted with messages from distinguished guests as well as comments by the examiner who stressed on the need for relevant characterisations, voice modulation and expression.

As the evening wore on, the audience was not disappointed with the final verdict as Royal College, Colombo emerged winners with their brilliant portrayal of Romeo and Juliet. Credit should also go to Thushara Hettihamu (Royal College), who bagged the Best Director award. Mario Wijeywardana – Nurse in Romeo and Juliet of Royal College and Eran Fernando, Dromio in A Comedy of Errors by Colombo International School walked away with the award for best characterisation.

The award for best supporting male role was a tie between Deshith Gamage, Mercutio of Royal College and Andrew De Silva, Alethea’s Romeo of Romeo and Juliet. Sashini Iddawela who portrayed Paulina in A Winter’s Tale by Gateway College, Kandy was the winner of the best female supporting role. The award for the best back stage crew went to Alethea International School who exhibited professionalism. The impressive team comprised Nasweer Fariz, Travin Manuel, Shakoor Ayob, Ruquaiyyah Majeed and Shimraz Sahil.

Gateway College, Kandy was adjudged first runner-up. Colombo International School was the second runner-up and Alethea International School, third runner-up 3rd.

The award ceremony also featured the launch of the much awaited StageYou.TV, a revolutionary idea from a Sri Lankan to the cyber world.  Deepamala Abeysekera, Managing Director, Aspirations Education and Founder, StageYou.TV stated, “We have now started accepting entry clips for the theatre contests online. If you are under 25 years of age, start submitting your entries by way of three minute video clips, during the upcoming two weeks. As still the website is not open to the public, you will have to contact us on 0776113928 for more instructions and the URL.”  

The Judge Award and Public Award for this contest would be a tour to University of Nottingham’s School of Modern Languages and Culture and participation at the otherwise expensive summer academy absolutely free of charge at University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus.

As the curtains came down on Theatre Fest 2012, it had certainly delivered all that it promised and more, once again reminding all, that drama mirrors life as much as life reflects drama and it continues.