Ananda College emerged Champions at the finals of the 44th Annual Inter School Shakespeare Drama Competition, held over the past weekend at the Bishop’s College Auditorium. Ananda’s Lakshitha Edirisinghe won the Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The Shakespeare Drama Competition, organised by the Rotary Club of Colombo North and the Colombo YMCA, is the most prestigious inter school competition conducted in English in Sri Lanka. This is Ananda’s second victory at this event, following its inaugural Championship win three years ago. Ananda has entered the finals on four occasions since 2011, having taken part in the contest every year from 2006 onwards.
The other schools at this year’s final were Wesley College, D. S. Senanayake College and Maris Stella College. 15 other boys’ schools, including past champions St. Thomas’, Royal, St. Joseph’s, St. Peter’s and Trinity, did not make it past the semifinal. Ave Maria Convent Negombo was adjudged winners of the girls’ competition, held the previous night.
Ananda’s production of Hamlet featured outstanding performances by Thilina Udayaratne in the title role, Lakshitha Edirisinghe as Polonius, Gavin Ranasinghe as Horatio, Rithmaka Karunaratne as the First Player, Nimsara Premaratne as Rosencrantz, Thejana de Silva as Guildenstern, Pankaja Kulatunga as Claudius, Haritha Gamage as Gertrude, and Malith Kulatillake as Marcellus. They were ably supported by an ensemble cast which also included a handful of novice actors.
Ananda’s Principal Mr. S. M. Keerthirathna, Drama Circle Master in Charge Mr. R. R. Rohana, the families of the participants, and many alumni and students were at the final to witness Ananda’s victory. The finals’ judges were veteran theatre practitioner Jehan Aloysius, Tanya Warnakularusiya of the British Council, and Dr. Harshana Rambukwella of the Open University. Ananda was adjudged a clear winner, scoring 271 points while 1st Runner Up Wesley College scored 240.
Ananda’s entry was directed by Nishantha de Silva, Ishtartha Wellaboda and Rajitha Hettiarachchi, and produced by AnandaDrama (www.anandadrama.org), the nonprofit organisation which supports theatre activities at the school whilst staging plays for Sri Lankan theatre goers. AnandaDrama’s next play, the original political satire Picket Republic, will be staged at the Lionel Wendt Theatre in December 2017.