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Performance Arts in Motion

Mixing traditional and contemporary arts and crafts for powerful communication

Power of Play is the result of a bold, entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for performing arts. Founded by Sulochana Dissanayake in 2011, Power of Play has broken down barriers and entertained audiences via art forms with universal appeal, cultural diversity and a rich history.

Power of Play has innovated the use of puppets, theatre and storytelling to educate and train people across different social milieus, using the expertise of professionals from the performing arts, media and creative industries. Sulochana and her team are breaking new ground in how audiences perceive traditional arts and crafts and their timeless relevance for modern teaching methods.

The highly adaptable nature of theatre and performance has allowed Power of Play to push boundaries in how they approach and link with communities in different settings, be it urban or rural, local or international and in the public or private sectors. At the heart of it all is a need to inspire people to overcome inhibitions, to share in the joy of shared stories and to remember the healing power of play.

Bringing Stories to life – achievements in stagecraft

HIGHLIGHTS - TIME LINE

CAMP KREATIV

Launching of the holiday programs of CAMP KREATIV with workshops in drama, dance and photography for children and youth


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SHADOWS OF CHANGE

Establishment of a non-verbal, visual theater company who creates and tours performances



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PROJECT JUNK

Facilitating the union of the collaboration of the American corners in Jaffna and Kandy by bring their environmental clubs together.

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SYBIL’S STORIES’

by collaboration with Expographics Bookstore.dramatized narrations

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WHALE SONG

Customizing puppet shows for World Animal Day 2014 celebrations by ODEL .


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2014


JAN/ MAR
‘Shadows of Change’ non-verbal community theater awareness initiative partners with the Viluthu center for human resource development – where community actors are trained to utilize theater without spoken language to raise awareness on socially critical issues in Puttalam, Jaffna, Batticaloa and Galle. Funded by the youth grants of the US Embassy, Sri Lanka

MAY
Creation of short puppet films for coastal, mangrove and turtle conservation in Sri Lanka. These children’s awareness videos were made for viewing in the Coastal Resources and Awareness Centre (CORAC). CORAC is part of the GREEN DYKE Project, a VLIR-UOS Own Initiative Programme

JUN
Creation of ‘Mahadanamuththa’ puppet film to raise awareness on the National Involuntary Resettlement Policy, commissioned by the Center for Poverty Analysis.

AUG
Launching of the holiday programs of CAMP KREATIV with workshops in drama, dance and photography for children and youth.

OCT
Customizing puppet shows for ‘Whale Song’ – World Animal Day 2014 celebrations by ODEL

OCT/NOV
‘Cocoon’ – collaborating with Wendy Perera to create a modern dance to physicalize how pregnancy and birth impacts the body and mind of a classically trained Ballet dancer. Created for ‘Transforming Bodies’, Colombo Dance Platform 2014

2013


JAN
Hosting Professor Christine McDowell (stage designer at Bates College, USA) for a month to assist in producing puppets and masks for a short non-verbal puppet film (titled ‘HOPE’) to raise awareness on female-headed households in Sri Lanka.

FEB

Partnered with 361 Edge (a dynamic corporate training outfit) to offer public training programs in utilizing performing arts to develop communication in corporate environments.

Launch of ‘Sybil’s Stories’ in collaboration with Expographics Bookstore Pelawatte. Monthly dramatized narrations of Sybil Wettasinghe’s classics brought to life through dialogue, movement, music, puppetry and audience interactions.

Directed the overall champions of John Keels talent competition 2013 (drama team of Cinnamon Grand) to perform a unique non-verbal performance to highlight social injustices/abuse faced by women in Sri Lanka.


APR
‘Ruukada Golek 2013’ – Invited by Foreign Affairs Ministry of Jakarta to celebrate 61 years of diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka with a collaborative puppet performance with Giri Harja III (one of the leading rod puppet troupes of West Java).

OCT
Launched the children’s book ‘The boy who slept in the sky’ (written by Sulochana Dissanayake and illustrated by Isuri Dayaratne) at the Colombo International Book Fair 2013.

NOV
Power of Play (PVT) LTD is appointed to the Sri Lanka State Puppetry Sub Committee to promote puppetry in collaboration with all functioning puppet troupes/practitioners in Sri Lanka.

DEC
Giant Santa performances in Good Market, Diyatha Uyana and Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo.

2012


JAN
Hired as a part-time teacher of theater and puppetry by British School, Colombo. Directed a shadow puppet performance of ‘Devadatta’ with theater students and trained students to build original puppets and create dynamic performances.

FEB
Commissioned by Cinnamon Grand Hotel of Colombo to provide cultural entertainment for school tours at Nuga Gama – a restaurant fashioned as a rural village.

APR
Invited by Earl’s Regency Kandy to promote educational entertainment for children at the Regency Junior Club events.

AUG
Commissioned by Colombo Music Festival to build a giant puppet mascot (Sangeetha Singyo) which drew inspiration from music traditions around the world.

OCT
PROJECT: JUNK – Facilitating the union of the collaboration of the American corners in Jaffna and Kandy by bring their environmental clubs together for a novel environmental awareness program. Conducted in 3 phases, Project: JUNK culminated with a series of performance art events in the streets and mall (Kandy City Center) of Kandy. Performances were followed by a public discussion led by leading environmentalist Dr. Ajantha Perera at the Children's Library. Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, Sri Lanka.

NOV
Re-Capturing Premin at Colombo Dance Platform 2012 - ‘Re-Capturing Premin’ is a glimpse at one of our greatest traditional puppeteers – his inspirations, performances, ambitions and frustrations, viewed through the lens of his body in each of his puppet or ritualistic performances. This piece is inspired by a rare collaboration between traditional Sri Lankan string puppets and Indonesian rod puppets (Wayang Goleks) for the Jaffna Music Festival 2011. This unforgettable experience enabled contemporary puppeteers to travel, perform, learn and laugh with traditional maestros and understand how to appreciate the history and resilience of one of our oldest performance traditions that intertwine the world of story-telling, music and dance into one seamless art (sponsored by Goethe)

DEC

Demons of Development’ - A modern thovile presented by Power of Play to exorcise the demons of egalitarian development. (Commissioned by Center for Poverty Analysis for 'Re-Imagining Development' symposium's performing arts evening)

Creation of a giant Santa Claus puppet who performs with his human-size elf-assistant.


2011


JAN
Setting up of ‘Shadows of Change’ - a non-verbal, visual theater company who creates and tours performances on social issues affecting youth in post-conflict Jaffna, sponsored by the US Embassy, Sri Lanka.

MAR

Jaffna Music Festival. Invited by Saranga Puppet Theater (led by Ambalangoda puppet maestro Premin Ganvari) to perform at the Jaffna Music Festival 2011.

Raja the giant elephant-puppet lantern - commissioned by the Cancer Society of Sri Lanka to build a life-size elephant puppet lantern (which was originally conceptualized in Bali drawing inspiration from the Balinese Barong dancing tradition, South African giant puppets and Sri Lankan vesak lanterns) which paraded around Vihara Maha Devi park, Colombo 7.


APR

Drama and puppet facilitator for Merril J. Fernando Charitable Foundation (Moratuwa) (founded by Dilmah to improve the lives of low-income families.)

Performed ‘Zippy the Zebra’ – an original hand puppet performance about self-discovery and self realization inspired by South African culture at the Sri Lankan Theater Festival 2011 (sponsored by Inter Act Art society)


MAY

Invited by a leading garment industry corporation to customize unique training solutions capitalizing on performing arts to enhance creative communications, innovations and personality development.

Jack and the SOY Beanstalk. Invited to direct the firstever junior school production at Royal College, Colombo 7. The selected production (‘Jack and the Soy Beanstalk’ by Jerrod Bogard) was originally written for four adults and had to be expanded to include over 150 students from grade 1-9. It ended up being the largest school production Royal has produced to date, producing both profits and a standard of professionalism for school productions that was commended by veteran artists.


OCT

Shadows of Change schools tour. Touring non-verbal, issue-based theater performances to raise awareness on teenage pregnancies and intelligent use of technology by ‘Shadows of Change - Jaffna’ to 10 schools based in and around Jaffna town (sponsored by US Embassy of Sri Lanka).

Galle Children’s Festival – invited to conduct workshops on drama, puppetry and playwriting at the GCF sponsored by Adopt Sri Lanka as part of the schools outreach program in partnership with the Galle Literary Festival.


NOV/DEC
HIV/AIDS awareness through Mahadanamuththa (maha guru) and modern golayas - Mahadanamuththa takes to the streets, offices, universities and factories of Colombo and Free Trade Zone to promote awareness on tranmission, non transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS in celebration of World AIDS Day 2011 (commissioned by Zonta Club II of Colombo, sponsored by AIDS Foundation Lanka with technical assistance from ILO).

2010


SEP
Initiated CAMP KREATIV – an afterschool puppetry and drama club at Asian International School, Colombo

NOV
World Premiere of ‘Ruukada Golek’ - First Sri Lankan and Indonesian puppet collaboration sponsored by the Indonesian Embassy of Colombo. The concept of the performance adapted the traditional folk tale of ‘Mahadanamuththa and Golayas’ to reflect modern challenges of balancing culture, traditions and values with capitalistic development goals faced by Sri Lankans in the 21st Century. The month-long creative process included a variety of workshops by the Indonesian artists for international schools, local universities and leading art communities.

DEC
Partnered with Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel to customize children’s puppet shows for their monthly ‘Kiddies Camps’.

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