Grieving and Healing Through Theatre Canadian-Tamil artistes present 16th Festival of Theatre and Dance

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Manaveli Performing Arts Group, Canada’s premier Tamil theatre group, will host its flagship event, 16th Arangaadal – Festival of Theatre and Dance – at the Markham Theatre for the Performing Arts on Sunday October 13, 2013, at 5PM. The festival this year will consists of four plays and a lecture by revered Tamil-Canadian thespian K. S. Balachandran.

The themes of the four plays this year revolve around the past injustices committed against the Tamil people and the lingering hurt, scars, and wounds those injustices inflicted. Selvan Sellathurai, spokesperson for the group, remembers with regret the festival that had to be cancelled in the year 2009. “We were in final stages of rehearsal for Arangaadal 15 when the war in Sri Lanka intensified. Many artistes involved in the festival had close family in the war zone and were directly affected. Initially we tried to cope with the situation, but it got to a point where the only sane thing to do was to postpone the event hoping the situation would improve” he said. The situation did not improve and the annual festival went on hiatus for 3 years. When the festival was finally re-launched in 2012, surprisingly, none of the plays dealt with the war or its effects. “It didn’t cross our minds. Looking back, I think we were not ready to deal with it then. But now we are ready and are dealing with it, because we know theatre has the power to heal. We remember, we grieve, and we look to the future” said Mr. Sellathurai.

As is typical of Manaveli, the event this year will bring together 40 artistes, some of them new faces and some of them seasoned veterans. The plays blend ancient Tamil theatre traditions with modern ideas to present the audiences with a unique theatrical experience. All four plays were written by Tamil-Canadian playwrights specifically for this year’s festival. The lecture by K. S. Balachandran is a break from tradition for the festival which has only featured performances in the past. It will however be a fitting tribute to the veteran actor, director, and playwright who has inspired and mentored many of the younger artistes who will be part of the festival this year.

For more information, please contact Dushy Gnanapragasam at 416-995-2984

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