It was a performance worthy of an award, and an award he did get. Young Sanuda Perera won the coveted award for Best Performance – All Island at the recently concluded Sri Lanka Festival for the Performing Arts (SLFPA). The 12 year old stole the show with his performances in the Speech and Drama component of the festival, also winning the awards for Best Recital Performance and Best Mime Performance (Junior).
The almost two-month-long sprint in over 20 centres across the island concluded at the main awards night in Colombo with Cally Foster and David Fonville from the UK as the adjudicators.
Students from different parts of the country attended the awards night and performed for the adjudicators and audience.
Thevindu Hettiarachchi bagged the award for the Youngest Performer to Receive a Gold Medal, Harindu Malinga de Silva for Performer Obtaining the Highest Mark at Preliminaries and Best Mime Performance (Senior), Gavinya Wijesekera for Most Versatile Performance Senior, Tiran Weerasinghe for Inventive Story Telling and Dilshaath Rukshana for Best Verse Speaking Performance. Vipulesh Thiyagarajah won Most Promising Performance – Senior and Dhilukshi Sankaran won Best Performance – Outstation.
Among other winners, the best performance all island went to Melisha Perera for Best Bible Reading Performance and Best Sight Reading while Timodh Perera got the award for Best Creative Writing Essay, Grace Wickramasinghe for Best Creative Writing Verse and Suyash Wanniarachchi for Best Story Telling Performance and Most Promising Performance (Juvenile). Kavin Siriwardana won the award for Best Television News Reading Performance, Sumithra Muttiah for Best Radio News Reading, Safras Hilmy for Best Public Speaking and Harini Perera for Best Reading Performance.
Best Shakespeare Acting and Best Improvisation Performances were won by Vipulesh Thiyagarajah, Best Dramatic Performance by Rayan Fernando, Best Comedy Performance was won by a group consisting of Silmi Mohamed Faiz, Birithew Suresh, Dhanushkan Suesh, Sherife Mohamed Fawzer, Nivethiyan Suthakaran, Lasvinkanth Ilanko and Dhanalakshan Navarathnam. Best Group Performance was won by Riyana Fernando, Rayan Fernando, Lahiru Hettiarachchi, Shaneli Pieris, Chethana Mudugamuwa, Venuka Joseph and Kithuni Wickramasinghe. Most Promising Performance Junior was won by Binuk Athauda and Most Promising Performance Outstation was won by Nethupe Ratnayake.
The Festivals also recognized and awarded the teachers with the highest number of entries and Gold medalists, Shihara Dias Bandaranayake walked away with the Teacher’s Award for the Highest Number of All Island Finalists and Winners.
The SLFPA is affiliated to The British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech UK, of which Her Majesty The Queen is Patron and is organized locally by the Institute of Music, Speech and Speaking Skills (IMSSS).
The festivals marks its 14th year in Sri Lanka encouraging performers to develop and showcase their skills in speech and acting.
Organizing Directress Kamini Perera noted that the increasing number of entries each year has been a testimony to the popularity of the festivals among teachers and students.
This year our Institute for Music, Speech and Speaking Skills, which organises and presents this festival – The Sri Lanka Festival for the Performing Arts – has bestowed on a past British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Dominic Chilcote, its first Festival Patron, who is now Her Majesty’s British Ambassador to Ireland, the Award of Hon Fellowship of The Institute of Music, Speech and Speaking Skills for his much appreciated support and interest in this Festival during his term of office in Sri Lanka.
Kamini Perera said Chilcote has been gracious enough to accept the Fellowship.
In a statement on being awarded the fellowship, Chilcote said “In the spirit of friendship and admiration which characterised my engagement with you and the Festival, I should be delighted and proud to accept The Hon. Fellowship. I feel very much beholden to you and the Sri Lanka Institute of Music, Speech and Speaking Skills for the honour you propose to bestow upon me. Thank you very much indeed.
I regret that, as you predicted, it won’t be possible for me or my wife, Jane, to come to Sri Lanka on Sunday, 26 June for your All Island Best Performance. I wish all the performers a very successful evening and trust that everyone in the audience and on stage enjoys themselves to the full”.
In her address at the Best Performers’ Concert where the winners were chosen, Foster noted that performing in festivals not only encourages an appreciation of the arts but also develops life skills of communication that are so important in today’s context.
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Pictures by Prasanna Somapala