Theatre of Friendship builds bridges between Sri Lankan communities who have been divided by civil war for more than a generation.
Peace-building in Sri Lanka through theatre
Theatre of Friendship uses Playback Theatre to link four communities across Sri Lanka who otherwise have no contact and no shared language. Facilitating deep listening and recognition of each person’s relevance and dignity, Playback creates space in which difficult experiences can be safely expressed. The project aims to form long term cross-cultural alliances in Sri Lanka by creating space for people to hear one another’s stories and develop understanding across cultural divides.
Four groups from Tamil and Sinhalese backgrounds have formed a network called 'Theatre of Friendship, Playback Sri Lanka'. They have invited us to support them to hold a national gathering in January 2013. We are raising money to make that possible.
The project was initiated by a group of volunteer international artists who offered preliminary training in Playback Theatre to the groups in Jaffna, Colombo, Hatton and Galle. This began in 2006 and 2007, then resumed in January 2012, culminating in a national gathering of the four groups. Following this event, we asked the local groups if they would like to take the work forward and how they would like to do that.
Our aim is for these activities to become self-perpetuating, with the project driven by local participants at every stage. We are committed to ongoing support for the project until at least 2017, when we envisage local participants will be highly skilled in all aspects of Playback Theatre practice. We are also supporting them to adapt the basic forms to address post-war circumstances. This includes a laboratory that will run in January 2013, and the introduction of practitioners with complementary specialisations.
In June 2012, leaders from each of the four groups formed the network 'Theatre of Friendship, Playback Sri Lanka'. The Jaffna based group, Kaveri Kala Manram, announced that they will host the second National Gathering at their centre in Chilipuram in January 2013. This is the first major initiative taken by the newly formed network. They requested the international artists come and support them.
Primarily self-funded until now, we are seeking support from the international community so we can contribute to the 2013 National Gathering, offer advanced trainings and hold an initial laboratory investigating the use of Playback in a post-war environment. Our program in January 2013 will consolidate the project, placing it in a viable position to seek sustainable funding from a range of sources.
Once tipping point funding has been achieved we will be able to commit a minimum of two trainers to attend the second National Theatre gathering in Jaffna.
Beyond tipping point a team of trainers will be invited to attend the gathering as well as travel to the four locations and provide specialist training to the individual groups pre and post the gathering.
In total we are seeking....
Flight and transfers for 4 international trainers (Australia and Hungary)
Support for Sister Clare from india to access the project. Clare was a member of the original team in 2007 and has since been committed to community development and peace building in Sri Lanka. Her position in India means fundraising is limited. We are committed to supporting her as she is at the heart of this project.
In country costs for local groups to travel to the gathering in Jaffna. Many Sri Lankans have not been to Jaffna as it was closed off during the war. It is exciting for both the Jaffna team and the other Playback teams to be together in Jaffna. This in itself is healing and building of friendship.
Translation for training. The project embraces three languages; Tamil, Sinhalese and English. To ensure everybody is heard and the stories are understood by all, translation is a vital element of the project.
Accomodation and travel costs for trainers and local participants at gathering in Jaffna.
The Playback theatre practitioners have and will volunteer their skills and expertise to the project. The funds we seek are to make the project viable, not profitable.