Features

Theatre in the Apocalypse

Theatre is one of the purest and most unifying forms of artistic expression. From early man enacting stories around the fire to Shakespeare to modern theatre, the act of performing is woven into the very fabric of mankind.

One of the foremost names in the Colombo theatre circuit is Mind Adventures Theatre Co. Founded by veteran thespian Tracy Holsinger in 1999, Mind Adventures is a small, independent theatre company that creates entirely original theatre pieces that are sociopolitically relevant and attempt to address important issues.

In addition to their work in the professional theatre arena, Mind Adventures also conducts workshop sessions across the country, focusing on topics like critical thinking and drama as a therapeutic technique. 

The Morning Brunch reached out to the Mind Adventures team to learn more about their newest initiative Theatre in the Apocalypse, speaking with its Associate Artistic Director Andre Howson.

From left: Mind Adventures Artistic Director Tracy Holsinger, Associate Artistic Director Andre Howson, and Company Manager Lihan Mendis

Mind Adventures was in the middle of rehearsing for a re-run of their acclaimed performance Maya when the lockdown came into effect. Faced with needing to cancel the production, they realised they weren’t alone and theatre professionals across Sri Lanka, as well as the world over, would be wondering how to move forward and sustain not just their own livelihoods, but also the livelihoods of those who work with them.

Through Theatre in the Apocalypse, which takes place in the form of a video series, Mind Adventures looks to try and define what happens next. How do those in theatre create, change, and evolve? What will the future of art, specifically the performing arts, look like and how can creatives find work and make a living in the “new normal”?

Consulting with different theatre and performing arts professionals each week, Theatre in the Apocalypse aims to explore what the future may hold for practitioners of the craft, to spark conversation, and share views among their guests and audience.

On its third episode so far, Theatre in the Apocalypse has consulted with Tashmadada Theatre Company, Melbourne Artistic Director Deborah Leiser-Moore and prominent stage, TV, and film actor Thusitha Jayasundera, and Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo Prof. Saumya Liyanage.

This week’s edition of Theatre in the Apocalypse, which goes live on Wednesday, 10 June at 10.30 a.m., will feature Feroze Kamardeen, the Artistic Director and Playwright of StageLight&Magic Inc.

Future episodes of Theatre in the Apocalypse hope to include conversations with renowned thespians like Ruwanthie de Chickera and Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke as well as theatre professionals from all around the world, who will share their views on the future of performing arts and how creatives can adapt.

Theatre in the Apocalypse will also be launching its own podcast in the near future for additional reach and aims to be a valuable resource for small theatre companies everywhere, as well as for anyone who is interested in the performing arts.

Speaking on the future, Howson explained that the future is likely to include smaller productions in terms of audiences and crews, as well as unconventional locations that enrich the theatrical experience. Performing arts, much like many other industries, is entering a stage of great adaptation, which will see lots of new and innovative ideas coming into play and boundaries being pushed to greater heights.