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Sunday, 29 June 2014

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With Gamarala Divya Loketa and Ratmalee on July 13:

Somalatha Subasinghe back on centre stage

Two plays for children, Gamarala Divya Loketa and Ratmalee, written and directed by Mrs. Somalatha Subasinghe is being revived by the Lanka Children's and Youth Theatre Foundation (LCYTF) to be performed on July 13 at 3.30 p.m. and 6.30 p.m. at the Lionel Wendt theatre.

The plays are semi-musicals which present to the young and impressionable mind, important values and lessons in life. Subtly mixed with the action and humour on stage are invaluable lessons of love, responsibility, friendship, courage, trust and world awareness.

Somalatha Subasinghe - actress, playwright, director and the renowned theatre educationist is a name that is irreversible woven into the children's and youth theatre and also the mainstream theatre of Sri Lanka. In recognition of her contribution to the Sri Lankan theatre for the last fifty years, she was conferred the title of Kalasoori and later the Kalakeerthi by the President of Sri Lanka. With her intuitive understanding of the mind of a child, and her compassion for children, she has gifted the children of Sri Lanka with many beautiful creations that speak to the innermost soul of the child. Her contribution to theatre and to the children of Sri Lanka is truly iconic.

Mrs. Subasinghe was conferred upon, with the covetous Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) in December 2013 by the esteemed University of the Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo, Sri Lanka in appreciation of her continuous contribution to Sri Lankan theatre since 1959.

Mrs. Subasinghe has also brought fame to Sri Lanka by representing the country at a number of international conferences on theatre for children and youth.

She was the Sri Lankan representative at the first ever Women's Playwright Conference held in New York in 1988. She continued to represent Sri Lanka in Women's Playwright Conferences thereafter.

In her capacity as the President of International Association of Theatre for Children and Youth in Sri Lanka (ASSITEJ Sri Lanka), Mrs. Subasinghe has given several young and promising performing artists, a much needed international exposure.

Mrs. Subasinghe's best contribution to the children of our country is the Lanka Children's and Youth Theatre Foundation (LCYTF), better known as the Play House - Kotte, which was donated and established by her in July 1981.

Over the years LCYTF had produced a repertoire of internationally acclaimed, mainly musical theatre for children and youth, and award-winning mainstream theatre productions.

Her creations have redefined children's and youth theatre in Sri Lanka, and have received international recognition. They have showcased our culture at a number of international children's theatre festivals in Europe and Asia.

Today LCYTF is the leading producer of theatre for children and youth, and one of the major training and skills development centres for actors and other creative professionals in Sri Lanka. LCYTF was conferred the Bunka Award, presented by the Embassy of Japan for the Best Achievement in Performing Arts, in 1997.

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