ASSITEJ Asia meeting was initiated in 2010 in Japan to create a dedicated platform for Asian centres to interact and collaborate. In the first few meetings these objectives were fulfilled to a greater extent. It seems that the ASSITEJ Asian network is getting stronger. ASSITEJ Asia meeting would provide a window of opportunities for artiste networking and collaboration in the years to come.
An international level ASSITEJ gathering is happening for the first time in Sri Lanka in August 2016. From the inception of ASSITEJ Sri Lanka Centre in 1981 by the eminent artiste late Somalatha Subasinghe; an actress, playwright and the pioneer in modern Sri Lankan theatre for children and youth, ASSITEJ Sri Lanka centre was promoting and assisting talented youths to get connected with the Assitej International. As a result, a substantial number of talented artists who are now well established in the field of theatre, television and cinema in Sri Lanka was able to experience an array of pursuits ranging from international meetings, workshops to theatre festivals. Thus this exposure has played a major role in expanding their knowledge of the theatre and enhancing their skills.
ASSITEJ Sri Lanka centre is taking a bold step forward to organise the Asian gathering although the task has been rather challenging without even its own space and funds. Though it seemed impossible, the dedication and whole-hearted support of volunteers and the expertise assistance of the artistes immensely contributed to make this dream of ASSITEJ Asia Meeting in Colombo a reality. ASSITEJ Meeting in Colombo will provide a useful platform for Sri Lankan artistes for better networking with Asia while visiting artistes are provided first hand exposure on the Sri Lankan way of drama and theatre in general.
ASSITEJ Sri Lanka is working very closely with Somalatha Subasinghe Play House, the only theatre organisation in Sri Lanka which not only produces professional theatre for children and youth but also training. Therefore, the enormous support of Somalatha Subasinghe Play House cannot be forgotten since most of the resources and expertise for ASSITEJ Sri Lanka is generously provided from the Somalatha Subasinghe Play House.
The ASSITEJ Asia Meeting in Colombo will be built upon a timely theme ‘Integrated Living Through Theatre’. On one hand, Sri Lanka is struggling to find its way after a thirty years of civil war as a multi ethnic society and, on the other hand, ironically every country is struggling to find their own space in a globalised world. Thus ASSITEJ Sri Lanka has taken a step forward to promote the necessity of integration of all human beings along with the nature for a better tomorrow. Artistes can take the lead to instill values in children and young people such as tolerance and respect for others through their artistic work. We sincerely hope that the theatre would be able to provide the wisdom for the people to establish values and principles for a truly pluralistic society.
ASSITEJ Sri Lanka and Somalatha Subasinghe Play House wishes to extend their sincere thanks to Sunethra Bandaranaike Trust, Dialog Axiata Ltd. Arts Council of Sri Lanka, Vallibel One PLC, Channel Head of Sirasa TV, Mr. Sumal Perera and a number of friends and colleagues for their generous assistance in finance and in kind to make ASSITEJ Asia Meeting 2016 a reality.
ASSITEJ Sri Lanka functions as a voluntary organization attached to Lanka Children’s and Youth Theatre Foundation (LCYTF). ASSITJ Sri Lanka was established in 1981 by a legendary playwright and actress in Sri Lanka, Somalatha Subasinghe. ASSITEJ Sri Lanka aims to endorse and further quality theatre for children and youth in Sri Lanka. We function as a networking platform for Sri Lankan artists who are involved in theater for children and youth as well as a producer of theatre for children and Youth and a training centre. Our mandate is to create connections among the theatremakers of Sri Lanka and that of the world. Access to and awareness of theatre in addition to ‘the right of every child for art education’, are the causes we work to achieve
Lanka Children’s and Youth Theatre Foundation (LCYTF), founded by the late Mrs. Somalatha Subasinghe in 1981, is the only professional theatre company which produces mainly musical theatre for children and youth in Sri Lanka. LCYTF has produced a repertoire of theatre productions over the last 33 years and instrumental in training a significant number of talented young artists who have excelled in different fields in creative art in Sri Lanka. The success of our work is underpinned by first-class facilitation and meticulous research. We take pride in our legacy and LCYTF being the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka: