Performed by: Alexia Mupende, Andy Kayigi, Innocent Munyeshuri, Claudia Shimwa, Abdul Mujyambere, Pradeep Gunarathna, Akalanka Prabashwara, Sanjeewa Upendra, Pramila Vimarshana, Nilmini Buwaneka
Director: Ruwanthie de Chickera
Production Manager: Pemanthi Fernando
Designer: Jayampathi Guruge

Dear Children, Sincerely… captures eight decades of performed Sri Lankan and Rwandan history.

For this project, stories and experiences of the elders of our societies were collected by our young people and retold in the form of live performance. Stories were gathered from both simple people and social leaders who are nearing the end of their lives.

This generation – many of whom were born in the 30s – has lived through colonialism, independence, insurrections, civil war, the technological revolution and post-war Sri Lanka. What have they learnt? What do they regret? What do they want to say to us before they are gone?

Ruwanthie de Chickera, an Eisenhower Fellow, is a leading playwright, screen writer and theatre director from Sri Lanka. Her plays have been produced in Sri Lanka, the UK, Japan, India, Australia and the Philippines. Her first play won the British Council International New Playwriting award in 1997 and was the first Sri Lankan play to be performed in London’s West End (at the Royal Court Theatre).

In 2000 she was awarded the Gratiaen Prize for best creative writing in Sri Lanka. She was awarded the Presidential Scholarship for theatre, in 2001 and the 2006 Theatre Pasta award for her contribution to international theatre. Ruwanthie’s first screen play ‘Machan’, produced in 2008, has won several international awards, including the award for Best Film at the 2008 Venice Film Festival (‘Last Days’ Section), and Best Feature at the Palm Beach Festival. She also received two Best screen play awards for Machan, from the Sarasavi Film Festival, and the Durban International Film Festival.

The film, which is a tragicomedy which examines issues of illegal immigration, has been screened in over 50 international festivals to date – including the Toronto, Brussels and Dubai Film Festivals, and released in over 10 countries. Ruwanthie has an Honours degree in English Literature from Colombo University and a Masters Degree, First Class with Distinction, in Applied Theatre from Manchester University. She has served on the National Drama Panel and Literature Panel of Sri Lanka, and worked as a Visiting Lecturer at the National University for Performing and Visual Arts for several years.

Ruwanthie has written and directed several plays, her most recent ones being the critically acclaimed Walking Path and Grease Yaka. In 2001, Ruwanthie co-founded the youth theatre company ‘Stages Theatre Group’ of Sri Lanka, which has been critically acknowledged as one of most exciting theatre groups in the country. It is committed to socially and politically conscious, original Sri Lankan Theater. She continues to be its artistic director.

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