Parakrama Niriella - Founder of Janakaraliya Mobile Theatre (Theatre Of the People), An Alternate Aesthetic Social Intervention in Sri Lanka. He Studied Drama & Theatre from the Art Centre Theatre Academy of the Lionel Wendt Memorial Centre in Colombo from 1974. His career began as a Pioneer member of the first Street Drama group in Sri Lanka and later expanded his creative activities into the fields of Cinema and Television where he has number of productions which brought him fame and prestigious awards locally and internationally. Most of his themes were based on the development of humanity and has also discussed co-existence between man and nature, in his creations. Since 2003, his main responsibility and devotion has been taking of "Jana Karaliya" (Theatre of the people) Mobile Theatre and its Travelling multi-ethnic drama group throughout the country. To convey the social message of plurality and peace in society that is accepted as historically necessary in the context of the much polarized conflict, Niriella's "Janakaraliya" was conceived and developed as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-linguistic group of young professional theatre artistes. It was also understood that this had to have mobility to reach the majority of the rural marginalized people and folk artists who had no access to social dialogue, exchange of experience and exposure to new thinking and approaches.
Dr. Sunil Wijesiriwardena - He is a longstanding civic leader in Sri Lanka committed to the cause of peace and democracy, while being a researcher, teacher and trainer with focus areas pertaining to cultural studies and transformative education (cultural fluency, conflict transformation, peace building, eco-spiritual politics and engaged religions etc). He was the Founder – Director of the first Independent Cultural Institute- Vibhavi Centre for Alternative Culture- devoted to promote Cultural Rights and to a Cultural Transformation program in Sri Lanka ,( 1991– 2001).
As a playwright, a literary translator, a literary editor and a critic has been making a notable contribution to fields of Sinhala Literature and the Theatre. At present he serves as a visiting lecturer at University of Kelaniya and Sri Palee Campus affiliated to Colombo University, where he contributed as the senior consultant to develop a new Syllabus for the Performing Arts Department. He was one of the artists who initiated the 2015 civic movement to draft a National Cultural Policy for Sri Lanka and is currently Joint-Chairperson of the Arts and Cultural Policy Desk – working towards creating a far-reaching and transformative National Cultural Policy for the country.
Dr. Wijaya Jayatilaka - Dr. Wijaya Jayatilaka has earned his degree (B.Sc. Agriculture) from the University of Peradeniya in 1977 and obtained M.Sc. (Rural Sociology) in 1982 from Texas A&M, University and Ph.D (Sociology) from Penn State University, USA in 1986.
He has received professional training in Organization Development for Development Practitioners. Ergo, Concept & Corporate Druids, and Advanced Course on Tools for Conflict Assessment, Impact Assessment, and Evaluation of Peace-Building Programmes
Presently Dr Jayatilaka is the Head, Department of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, Chairman, Board of Study - Agricultural Extension, Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, a member, Standing Committee, Gender Equity & Equality, University Grants Commission and a Senior Lecturer - Department of Agricultural Extension, University of Peradeniya.
He has been working in senior executive positions in Sri Lankan universities for several years and his Research Publications & Presentations includes (i) Sociology of Agriculture (ii) Farming systems (iii) Youth (iv) Climate change (v) Gender and (vi) Conflict Transformation, Peace Building and Culture
Dr Jayatilaka has been consultant on Project formulation and feasibility studies, social impact assessment, evaluation studies, strategic planning and developed a youth mainstreaming strategy for the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, GOSL, GIZ, UN, British Council, USAID, CIDA, NORAD.
He is a life member of National Agricultural Society of Sri Lanka, Sociological Association of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science, Sri Lanka Agricultural Engineering Association, Sri Lanka Agricultural Extension Association, Sri Lanka Agricultural Economics Association, Lanka International Forum on Environment and Sustainable Development, and also a Fellow of the Institute of Management Sri Lanka
Ms. Kumari Welegedara - She was the Organizing Chair of the National Summit for Media Reforms which collaborated with 3 major universities in Sri Lanka, Ministry of media and information, and the Sri Lanka press institute which produce the book titled “Rebuilding Public Trust” in 2016 , with a comprehensive set of recommendations for media reforms in Sri Lanka after one and half year long deliberations with various stakeholders and the general public
Her Major research interests includes media research. Media monitoring and content analysis during general election 2015 and presidential election 2016 as part of the election monitoring processes commissioned by transparency International while other major media research includes Content analysis of media in relation to development issues in Sri Lanka. Major content analysis on behalf of the ministry of health, commissioned by JICA for the health master plan on Alcohol and tobacco portrayal in media had the most reviling set of data available in Asia was instrumental in community, media and policy planning advocacy.
Also the Research on “Television in the perspective of poverty “- pioneering research in the field of television has been used in the universities in Sri Lanka as critical analysis of journalism Practices and knowledge on development.
As a senior programme office at ADIC, and as the Senior Community health manager at International Media Teams, She has vast range of experience in the grassroots community work and the national level policy planning and the work completed in the Menik Farm IDP situation in Sri Lanka to improve the health of IDPs during the emergency situation was recognized by the ministry of health. Regional level experience with Counter Narcotic public Information Campaign which was conducted in Afghanistan with the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory programme in Collaboration with the Ministry of counter narcotics in Afghanistan and the state department of USA.
She has completed her post graduate studies from the university of Colombo and reading for her doctoral studies at present. While she is full time involved as a development specialist, she has also completed diploma in film technologies.
Ms. Hasini Haputhanthri - Hasini has been a Development Professional and Arts Manager for the last ten years. She has also worked as a trainer, translator, writer and researcher. Now she is reinventing herself as a consultant in creativity and personal development. Her new areas of interest are Museum Anthropology, Oral History and Arts integrated Education.
Hasini has been working on social cohesion and reconciliation in Sri Lanka for the past 10 years, especially with a focus on culture, communications and education. She has worked with over 100 arts initiatives, as well as with government and donor agencies and handled complex partnerships in politically challenging circumstances. She is trained as a sociologist in Delhi University India, Lund University Sweden, and has specialized in teaching history with York University, Canada. As a Fellow at Columbia University New York, she studied creative use of Oral History and Museology and worked closely with the Lower East-side Tenement Museum. She has also studied Museology in Germany with a focus on the curation of Holocaust Museums. She is part of Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability – a global network of researchers and practitioners on transitional justice and reconciliation.
Hasini believes in personal growth and is in a period of transition, looking for new opportunities to combine her new passions with her past experience.
Mr. Dilip Rohana - Was born in Badulla, studied at Nalanada College in Colombo and became a science/mathematics teacher in 1976. He stared his stage acting carrier by joining Herbert Weerasinghe’s drama “Iwak Bawak Nathi Lowak” which became the best drama at the 1976 state drama festival.
He worked as reporter for “Wiyaluwa” Region of Badulla district for the "Aththa” newspaper and participated in the 1980 July general strike. After coming to capital joined “Open Art Circle’ street drama group organized by Parakrama Niriella and H.A.Perera. In addition to being a stage, cinema and a television actor he was a stage manager, production manager, assistant director and a script writer too. He later followed the "cinema and television course" conducted by Andrew Jayamanna for Office Catholic International on Cinema - OCIC . He assisted North-South cultural coordination process which was pioneered by Mr. Dharamasiri Bandaranayake. He is a member of the Janakaraliya Board of Directors at its inception.
He has served as resource person in production of visual aids for grade 6 – 9 series of mathematics text books for national Institute of Education, used for live television educational programmes conducted by the Rupavahi TV Corporation. He is also a special trained mathematics teacher, holder of degree in Education (BEd), Post graduate degree in mass communication (MSc : Mas-com – Kelaniya), and was a teacher and a vice- principal of Colombo Nalanda College for a long time. He was also served as the deputy principal at the defense service college.
At present he is an energetic civil social service activist.
Mr. Munidasa Siriwardena - Graduated from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura.
Bachelor of Commerce
Diploma in Commerce
Former Deputy Principal of the Nalanda College, Colombo
Mr. Sudath Mahaadivulwewa - Sudath Mahadivulwewa exhibits a professional career spanning the fields of cinema, television, theater, journalism, advertising and academia.
In creating the tele drama ‘Dhawala Rathriya’, he became the youngest tele film director at the time. His works of ‘Dande Lu Gini’ and ‘Vanaspathi’, became turning points of the tele drama culture, becoming milestone creations in the sphere of socio political commentary. Focusing on the environment and conservation, he created the tele series ‘Manukakapura’.
He produced a 35mm ground breaking documentary film, based on the vanishing minor gypsy tribes in Sri Lanka, called ‘Song of the Seventh Evening’ for the Government Film Unit. His award-winning batch of ten documentary productions cover a multitude of subjects and themes.
His first film ‘Sudu Kalu saha Alu’ focused on the ongoing ethnic war and its consequences.
‘Sahathika Nokala Maranayak’ was staged in the Sinhala theater directed by Sudath, adapted from the world famous absurd theater play by eugene Ionesco ‘Amédée, or How to Get Rid of It’.
As a journalist, he played editorial role for art page in the alternative tabloid newspaper ‘Lakdiwa’. Sudath has produced over 800 TV commercials and social awareness campaigns for national, state and international clients throughout his career.
As a film activist, Sudath was instrumental in the creation of the long running public film/art weekly event within the DFA at Sri Lanka Foundation, under the patronage of the organizations FLICT, GIZ and the European Union.
Sudath operates as the Head of Department for Film Direction at the Digital Film Academy, Sri Lanka Foundation. Sudath currently lectures on the study of cinema at the University of Colombo - Sripali Chapter, University of Kelaniya, University of Peradeniya, University of the Visual and Performing Arts, University of Vocational Technology (UNIVOTEC).
Starting with the National Youth Council Services award in the year 1989 through their awards for “The Best Film Script” and “Best Documentary Script”, he has received many best director, best producer and best script awards at prestigious State Telefilm & Documentary, OCIC International, Sarasavi, Sumathi and Presidential awards spanning a career over 25 years.
Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund honored Sudath Mahadivulwewa with the prestigious Bunka award citing special contribution in “Film & Theater” domain in the 19th Bunka (Cultural) Awards.
Sudath was one of the two invitees from Sri Lanka for the Documentary Filmmaking in the US, Leadership Program in the USA, organized by the Department of State - Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, USA.
He currently holds a B.A. Hons in Image Arts from the University of Kelaniya, and is reading for a M.Phil from the University of the Visual and Performing Arts with a research of the topic of ‘being’ through cinematic works.
Sudath continues to believe in the knowledge of the medium, applied with a serious concern on social problems, creating devoting art forms to humanity.
Mr. Somasundaram Thevaraj - By profession he is an attorney-at-law, a senior lawyer in Jaffna.
He is an Actor and a Theatre Director.
Member of Red face ("semmugam") performing group, Jaffna
Member of Thevakoobala kirushna drama Foundation, Jaffna
Member of Marumalarchchi foundation, Jaffna
Member of Nadikar onriyam, Jaffna
Member of Nadaka aranga kalluri, Jaffna.
Member of Arangadikal, Jaffna.
Member of Aranka panpaaddu peravai, Jaffna.
Member of Thesiya kalai ilakiya peravai, Jaffna.
Mr. Kamal.B.Dissanayake - Bachelor of Development, Special Degree - University Of Colombo.
Former Assistant Director to the Department of Cultural Affairs , Ministry of Culture and Arts.Former Chief Executive Officer ( Genaral Secretary )to the Arts Council of Sri Lanka ,Ministry of Culture and Arts.
Former District Cultural Officer for the districts of Monaragala, Kandy and Colombo to the ministry of Cultural Affairs.
Fomer Secretary to the State Drama panel, Western Music Panel and State Childern Drama Panel.
Attended for an international seminar in 'Intangible Cultural Heritage in Sri Lanka' conducted by United Nations in India participating 22 countries in 1998.
Participated for an International cultural relations activity between India and Sri Lanka held in India at the International Center for Cultural Relations (ICCR ) for the district of Kolkata , Chennai , Bangalore and New Delhi in 1996.
Participated International Drama Festival conducted by Sangeeth Natya Academy in Thrissur district , participating 17 Western and Eastern countries in 2014.
Did Research on 'Weddas and their Life ' in Rathugala and Nilgala areas in Monaragala District (1979) ,Research on Socioeconomic and Cultural Activities in Kandy District .
Mr. Jeewantha Niriella - Information Communication Technology (ICT) Engineer with 14 years of experience in the local and foreign assignments.
Holds MSc in Digital Communications Networks in London Metropolitan University (UK)
Holds BSc (Hons) in Computing and Information Systems (Second Upper Class) in London Metropolitan University (UK).
Charted IT Professional (CITP) of British Computer Society since 09th of November 2005.
Currently working as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in Sky Engineering Consultancy )PVT) Ltd and also working as a consultant to the Ministry of Defense and Yonsan Engineering Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.
There are 9 members who are thoroughly committed from its inception of Janakaraliya bearing responsibility of this multi-ethnic Janakaraliya Drama group. They have become co-partners by being responsible for maintenance of Janakaraliya Cultural Foundation in all its functions such as, finance control, planning, advertising, productions, organising performance and ancillary tasks in the Art field (Choreography and set design etc) lighting and sound effects, whilst getting involved in Performance Theatre and Applied/Forum Theatre too. This multi ethnic theatre group was well trained on "Forum Theatre" methodology under foreign visiting Theatre specialists of the Applied Theatre. Four of the senior members were given advanced training on the same methodology from "Janasanskriti" of Kolkata, the South Asian Centre for the "Theatre of the Oppressed" International Forum Theatre Chain.
These members have been adjudged as ‘Best Directors, Best Writers, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Stage Manager, Best Choreographer, Best Makeup artist, Best Stage Lighting, Best Costume Designer etc at State Drama Festivals and Youth Drama Festivals.
The entire practical activities of Janakaraliya are carried out by the fulltime members. They are responsible for Management of Finances, Planning of drama productions, Organization of drama performances, Propaganda work, Up keeping of the Mobile Theatre, Management of Stage lighting and Sound Equipment as well as and Administration of Janakaraliya properties. They are dedicated to Janakaraliya without participating in any external activities with their own free will. Janakaraliya Cultural Foundation provide for their livelihoods.
Some of the co-operating members are studying while some others are engaged in part time employments. They participate in drama rehearsals and performances of Janakaraliya during their free times. Some of them assist in transporting, assembling and dissembling of the mobile theatre. They do not participate in management and administration works handled by the fulltime member
There 5 Senior Members with professional skills among these cooperating members those who were engaged with Janakaraliya from its inception.