For quite some time, we, the artists at Stages have been discussing the need for a residency for our artists: a place where our artists could stay, rehearse, read, relax, research, meet, cook and explore ourselves as artists. In 2018 Stages rented out a place in Maharagama, where we now run our artist residency with three live-in artists from Stages. At this residency we not only rehearse and reside we also host artist development programs for our artists such as Yoga classes, English classes, recordings, and choreography sessions. This space is also used as an office space for Stages administrative work and meetings.
Stages believes in investing in our artists as they are the heart and soul of our theatre company. One thing that makes our theatre group unique is that all or most of our actors/ artists are graduates, and/ or are professionally qualified on some level in the theatre field. We also encourage and support the further education of artists in theatre and the arts and following are some of our artists who have qualified for such programs.
Piumi Wijesundara: A Master’s graduate in Theatre Directing at the East 15 Acting School at the University of Essex (2020), United Kingdom.
Jayampathi Guruge: Fulbright scholar at Dell Arte International
Akalanka Prabashwara: qualified and offered a position at Dell Arte International USA for a professional training program in acting (2019)
Pethum Dharmaratne : A Masters graduate from Attakkalari Center for Movement Arts, Bengaluru, India.
Language Training for Artists
Sign Language Course
The first phase in Stages’ language training programme has just concluded with 17 artists completing the 3 month course successfully. All students are now competent at letter signing in Sinhalese, British English (two handed) and American (single handed) alphabets. They can also sign some words and phrases at a basic level. A majority of the classes were conducted by candle light because of the powercuts, But what was lacking in light, was made up for with sheer enthusiasm and the masterful teaching of Asoka and his magical assistant Priyantha.
The Training is conducted free of charge to all artist and teachers who want to participate and will continue with Tamil, Sinhalese and English language classes soon. A more advanced Sign language course is also in the works.
Language training is an integral part of our mission to help us as artists and teachers reach an ever wider audience in both education and art.
Change Culture: Artists. Children. Society
Stages Theatre Group, together with Kindernothilfe Sri Lanka, have initiated 'Change Culture: Artists. Children. Society.' a free concentrated arts program intended to connect artists with schools in order to teach children artistic skills, creative and critical thinking subjects that are outside the school curriculum. In these strange times of pandemic and chaos where children are visibly affected both physically and psychologically, we feel it is a timely intervention. The programme aims to help children learn, cope and become resilient through creativity as well as to introduce teachers to new and creative teaching methods.
We offer the following three programs for schools
Workshopped Productions in the Concentrated Arts Program: connects a theatre artist with a school to work with a group of students. The artis teach/workshop theatre and performance skills over a period of time in order to produce a creative production at the end of their learning.
The significance of the programme is that it will help students develop skills to express themselves and think critically, while allowing students to lead and make decisions with regards to both conceptualisation and execution of their own original and socially conscious creative productions.
Thinsin Tamil National College, Hatton - Theatre Mates
The artists of Theatre Mates Cultural Association (Rasaiah Loganathan, Leelawathy Selvaraj) worked with 25 students between the ages of 12 – 18 on creating community theatre and showcasing a final production.