Russian Centre drama academy excels
juniors who performed the Elephant Hunt
Seniors who performed the Chinese theatre performance
of Ming Lee and the Magic Tale
‘These were two wonderful presentations. I was transported to two
different worlds within forty minutes.
The seniors with the Chinese theatre performance of Ming Lee and the
Magic Tale and the juniors with their Elephant Hunt had me enthralled,’
commented the examiner from Trinity Guildhall, London, Philip Phrupp as
the young students of the Russian Centre’s Drama Academy finished their
theatre performances last month.
Drama is an area of self-expression and team-work. The child can be
someone else for the short duration of the class – one hour a week. In
today’s world of pressure from kindergarten right up to high school, to
achieve and achieve more, to compete and compete harder, drama is the
relief time that the children look forward to.
They also learn to get along with each other and to boost each other
along. Team work when they perform is at its height. ‘The children and
their enthusiasm, their ideas, their ability to look at a scene and
think about it in numerous ways is what is wonderful about drama’, says
the Academy’s drama teacher, Aroshe Ranasinghe.
The two casts of 10 pre teens and 14 little ones put up some sterling
performances for children so young, at their Group Performing Arts
examinations conducted by Trinity Guildhall, London.
While the children benefit enormously from this exercise, the
audience too is transported into different worlds and left asking for
Ming Lee and the magic tale was an extract from Chinese theatre,
complete with a chorus (played by Miriam) and a property man(Vedeha).
Using ancient Chinese tradition, the moral of the tale is narrated by
the chorus while the property man supplies the props to the characters
The show was resplendent with colourful costumes and different
musical instruments and a very tight performance by the entire cast.
While Ming Lee ( a young woodcutter (Dinelli), tries to answer the
Magic Tiger( Dulshika) about what happiness is all about, he encounters
the Sun God(Anjali), the Mountain God(Akansha), the Lightning God (Anjali),
the Kite seller(Ravindini), the Princess of the stars(Mewanthi) and the
maidens(Sawanthi and Thanuli) who take him back full circle to realize
that one is happy only when one is himself doing the best that he can at
whatever he does. The entire cast was in the age group of 11 to 13 year
olds. The younger group of six, seven and eight year olds put up another
stunning performance at the same examination with their amazingly well
synchronized ‘Elephant Hunt.’ For six to eight year olds to work in such
harmony and with such enthusiasm was truly a lesson in team-work even
They produced rain and jungle scenes with their synchronized action
on stage. There was nothing for the audience to do but applaud at such
ingenuity. When the children finished with the line that they would
never hunt animals again, the only word on the audience’s lips was
‘encore.’ It was a fitting end when the examiner himself got up to tell
the children how pleased he was at their performances.
The director/teacher Ranasinghe is keen to put up a full length
production by the children, for children whereby she wants to bring
local tales of yore to an audience that seems not to have time for
stories anymore, in their busy little lives.