Punchi Theatre needs financial backing

I had the pleasant and profitable opportunity to participate in the workshop seminar on Hendrik Ibsen’s work organised by the Namel Malini Punchi Theatre situated at Borella and held on the 13th and 14th of January 2006.

To me, as one who had only read Ibsen’s plays that too more than fifty years ago consequent to my having read Bernard Shaw’s Quintessence of Ibsenism, the workshop-seminar gave me a clear insight into the plays and deeper understanding of them and further impelled me to read the plays over again.

The participants, numbering over hundred, had the privilege of seeing, meeting and hearing some well-known and eminent theatre personages such as Mrs. Iranganie Serasinghe, Prof. Ashley Halpe, Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala, Prof. Sunanda Mahendra, Dr. Earnest Macintyre, Dr. G. K. Hathotuwegama and Mr. Ariyawansa Ranaweera, who were the resource persons.

Dr. Macintyre functioned as the co-ordinator of the programme on both days in addition to giving a talk like the other resource personages.

There were also some other prominent theatre people such as Dr. Henry Jayasena Mr. Haig Karunaratne who also gave their input and also Prof. Carlo Fonseka, to mention only a few. The film on Gedda Gabler and the discussion thereafter had been very useful.

I was really taken up by the organisers of the workshop-seminar, Mr. Namel Weeramuni and Mrs. Malini Weeramuni with their organising ability and with their extreme courtesy in welcoming the participants and attending on them, especially Mrs. Malini Weeramuni who went about doing all the things imperceptibly and unobrusively.

Participation in the workshop-seminar was free and the meals and tea in the mornings and evenings on both days were also free.

This workshop-seminar had been made possible by the sponsorship given by the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Ambassador, Hon. Hans Brattskar, graced the occasion on the first day and started the programmes with an illuminating speech.

The participation of the youths, including a group from the University of Jayawardene Pura, I believe, was an encouragement for the future of the theatre. Dr. Hathotuwegama conducted a lively workshop which they enjoyed and would have profited much, on the practical side.

One of the useful matters that emerged was the consensus that a theatre school is essential if theatre is to advance in our country and that there should be professionalism.

Mr. Namel Weeramuni said that he had been having this idea for some time but his problem was to find the money to pay the teachers.

He hoped that some affluent theatre enthusiasts or some establishment or even the government would come forward to make this a reality.

Mr. Weeramuni had the place for the school. He and his wife have the knowledge and the skill and also attitude — the will and the dedication. It is only the financial backing that is required to carry out this vital need for the theatre’s advancement, in our country.



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