Cultural Affairs Dept. explains state drama award fiasco


Anusha Gokula

By Ajith Alahakoon


Director of Department of Cultural Affairs, Anusha Gokula said that the State Drama Festival which had been held on a grand scale every year had been disrupted this year owing to a tug-of-war between ministries and officials.

Contacted for comment on artistes’ protest on stage while the award ceremony of the State Drama Festival was in progress at the Western Province Cultural Centre in Colombo last Friday, Director Gokula said that she had predicted the possible disruptions and warned that artistes should not be ill-treated.

Director Gokula said that Department of Cultural Affairs coming under the purview of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, while the National Arts Council had been removed from that ministry and placed under the Ministry of Education by the incumbent government much to the dismay of the artistes and art lovers.


"Even with difficulties in coordinating the two sections for a single purpose, we managed to hold State TV Awards festival and Kalabhooshana festival last year. The chairman of the Arts Council cooperated with us to help hold those festivals. He has since been removed. This year too both the Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Arts Council were asked to assist in holding the State Drama Festival’s awards ceremony. However, a sub committee of the Drama declined to give us the names of winners. Thereafter we stayed out. Minister SB Navinna made a written request for the names of the winners, but the Arts council coming under the ministry of education did not cooperate. Chairman of the Arts Council turned down the request saying it would hold the award ceremony on its own. In such a situation we cannot intervene and we decided to let them go ahead. The result is now known to one and all. We regret the treatment meted out to the artistes. Next year we will form an advisory board anew and hold a proper award ceremony."



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