top of page

The Certificate

a monologue by a stateless child

Directed by Ruwanthie de Chickera

Synopsis         Production      Reviews        Reflections       Devising       Rehearsals       Cast         Downloads


The Certificate is a monologue performed by a stateless girl-child.  It directly questions the integrity of a system that denies children their basic right to a nationality. 

The Certificate is best experienced as an unannounced intervention.

February   2017

Running time – 20 mins (no interval)
Language - English 

Stages Theatre Group, Empathy & Risk, and The Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion.



The Certificate is a monologue on statelessness. It is based on interviews conducted by the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI) with stateless children.

The Certificate was initially commissioned for performance in London by the ISI in 2017 and later performed in Colombo in 2018.

It was performed as an intervention at the Opening Plenary of the World Conference on Statelessness in the Hague in June 2019, as part of the CANCELLED Arts Programme.


“Shyalina's performance was not a performance. It carried the suffering of many souls. When I watched it, it was like melted iron poured into my soul and flowed through my eyes.”

— Deepthi Gurung

Statelessness Activist World Conference on Statelessness, the Hague 2019

More Reviews


Looking Back

Artists involved in creating this play reflect on the creative process; explaining how the idea came about, how it grew, changed and what finally made it to the production.

Read the Stages Resource Pack and watch the Stages Looking Back video to gain insight into the process behind creating this play.



 The Certificate was not a devised script.  It was researched and written by Ruwanthie de Chickera.
Experimentation with The Certificate began after it was first performed. The idea that this play is best experienced as an unannounced interruption, with confusion around whether it is a performance or not, was realised when it was integrated into the CANCELLD Arts Programme and used to interrupt the Opening Plenary of the World Conference on Statelessness in the Hague in 2019.


This monologue requires special attention if it is performed as an intervention, for it then requires a young child to interrupt and challenge a room full of adults.
The child actor was trained to respond to an uncontrolled acting environment.  Work was also done to reduce the ‘performativity’ of this piece.  Moreover, a great deal of familiarity was necessary with the subject matter for the child to begin to embody the character rather than perform the role.

Meet The Cast


Shyalina Muthumudalige