The Created Space


Peacebuilding and Performance in Sri Lanka


By Madhawa Palihapitiya

In the decades of post-colonial conflict between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority, Sri Lankan theater has acted as a free space, an open arena for artistic expression and political discourse. Sinhalese and Tamil Theater are similar in origin. Beginning with pre-Buddhist rituals, songs, dance, and drama were a means to manage community or individual issues and the political environment. Madhawa Palihapitiya writes about these ancient practices and about two contemporary Sri Lankan artists, Dharmasiri Bandaranayake and Kandasamy Sithamparanathan, who have extended theater-making to promote coexistence between the divided groups. 

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