Drama Therapy for the disabled


For over two decades THIDORA (Theatre Institute For Disability Oriented and Research and Advocacy) has been engaged in a unique experiment utilizing drama and the performing arts as a therapeutic tool for improving communication skills, self-study and self discipline for the mind, body and words for the differently-abled.

The pioneering drama workshops initiated by renowned artist, late Dhamma Jagoda is presently being continued by the THIDORA Theatre institute. One recalls the introduction of the character Pina, depicting the phenomena and impact of differently –abled person in our social fabric, in Dhamma Jagoda’s acclaimed play ‘Sakala Jana’.

"Today, several persons with disabilities undergo drama courses at our institute. We believe that the Drama Therapy we introduce will offer a methodology that would help participants to develop skills and abilities necessary for other expressive arts. Drama brings together a plethora of arts like literature, music, dance, movement, sculpture, painting and several audio-visual arts. Drama will help develop self discipline and self control" explains Rohana Deva, Chairman and Artistic Director

Thidora operates the sole theatre institute for disabled youth in Sri Lanka, From Monday to Thursday which comprises the Drama and Theatre School, Special Education Unit, Vocational Training Unit, Puppetry school, Street Drama troupe. A movement therapy workshop for children with Autism is currently conducted on Saturdays from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm by Rohana Deva, who graduated from the Golda Mount Carmel International Training Centre, Israel.

Thidora also conducts Training of Trainers programmes on topics such as building bridges, leadership qualities, effective communication skills, coping with stigma, drama therapy, music therapy, movement therapy, and art therapy.

The Parents Society of Thidora, formed by the parents of workshop participants, helps share experiences and cope with issues. Annual picnics are organized visiting various parts of the Island to expand the minds of their differently - abled children

THIDORA, while engaged in the process of enhancing the required communicative skills aim at building thereby a life full of worth and respect for every human being. Its doors are always open to those who have been disabled in any form, by birth or circumstance and disadvantaged by cultural, gender, ethnic, class and other social factors.

"…Through THIDORA we would learn to listen more than just to hear, to perceive more than just to see, and to think more than what are immediate thoughts would allow. Hence we have selected Drama Therapy as our main teaching tool. Through this process we learn to be critical of the flow of our moods and emotions and arrive at a catharsis that would lead to peace" emphsises Rohana Deva.

In 2009, Thidora theatre produced the play ‘Thei Yath Tha’ with the first ever integrated percussion ensemble comprising mentally disabled in Sri Lanka as well as the only dancers with mental disabilities who performed the traditional ‘Gini Sisila’(dancing with fire). In the same year, Bertolt Brecht’s renowned play ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’ was performed by its integrated theatre troupe.

Last year, Thidora theatre performed, the first ever Street Drama ‘Seeting Sooting and Martin’ performed by a troupe of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka, to raise the voice on rights of disabled. This production was sponsored by the National Secretariat for the Persons with Disabilities and the Ministry of Social Services.

animated gif
Processing Request
Please Wait...