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Prof. Hattottuwagama, father of local street drama passes away

(October 30, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Father of local street drama field Gamini Hattottuwaga passed away today (Oct. 30). Prof. Hattottuwegama, an English lecturer by profession, was also involved in writing and was a renowned film critic. He played a main role in Dharmasiri Bandaranayake’s ‘Thunweni Yamaya.’ Prof. Hattottuwegama also created several talented artistes by producing dramas and conducting workshops and courses.

Prof. Gamini Hattotuwegama’s contribution for the field of street drama has been for more than three decades. He has been the guru of a number of versatile and talented actors today. ‘Veediye Satankaruwa’ (Warrior of the Street) a street drama festival was held at the Sudarshi Hall under the patronage of the Socialists Arts Society to honor Prof. Hattotuwegama.

Specialising in English he got his Bachelors degree from the University of Peradeniya in 1963. His academic career extended over 40 years. Prof. Gamini Hattotuwegama joined the English Department of the University of Kelaniya in 1965 and helped to set up a Department of Fine Arts in 1974. He was the president of the Film Critics and Journalist’s Association, Sri Lanka from its inception to its demise from 1966 to 1974.

Prof. Hattotuwegama founded the Wayside and Street Theatre Movement in 1974. He also introduced a powerful agitprop medium into the practice of professional criticism of social, political, economic and cultural issues in Sri Lanka and the world at large. From 1980s to 2004 he served at the University of Peradeniya. During this time he also served as a visiting lecturer in English, Cinema, Drama and Theatre studies at the Colombo University Post Graduate Institute of Education; at the Colombo University Shripali Campus Faculty of Fine and Performing Arts at Horana; at the National Institute of Education Maharagama and also as a visiting lecturer in drama on a degree programme in English, conducted for a group of Maldivian students. He is also known as a classical play producer and a translator of William Shakespeare, Bertolt Brecht, Samuel Bekett, Jean Anouilh and many others.

Prof. Hattotuwegama was invited to represent Sri Lanka at several international conferences in India, Australia, Norway, Germany and the Philippines. Some of his plays have been rated among the most advanced scenes in Asia. His troop has been featured in UNESCO’s April 1992 issue Art Street and has taken part in an international theatre Olympiad in 1996 in India.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

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