Sunday 26 November 2017

The British Council, in partnership with the London Southbank Centre, will be bringing the WoW – Women of the World Festival to Sri Lanka on the 2nd and 3rd of December 2017. The festival, which is free to enter, will take place at the National Film Corporation Grounds and is open to all members of the public. What promises to be an exciting weekend, this festival celebrates and empowers women and will have multiple events, performances and workshops involving over 120 guests, speakers and performers running simultaneously.  Curious to know more about what will be going on? Here’s a taster of some of the many performances being held over the course of the weekend.

On Saturday night, the legendary Chitrasena Dance Company will be gracing the WOW stage with their duet performance of Raaga.

Raaga is a familiar word associated with the Indian classical music tradition. It literally means a colouring of music. But in the low country (Ruhunu) dance tradition in Sri Lanka, it takes on the meaning temptation and Pada meaning rhythms. In this act, two female dancers conversing, playing and celebrating the sensuous demonic sounds, showcases the beauty of the Ruhunu dance form, its speed, its patterns, its dynamism, and the alluring unique lyricism. Traditionally danced by males it is a choreographed stage adaptation for the females and we take pride in presenting it at the WOW festival.  

Sri Lanka’s first ever female drum ensemble “Thuryaa” will be showing you an ‘alternative’ way to use kitchen utensils in their high-energy act. Seeded within the walls of University of the Visual and Performance Arts, the ensemble was the brainchild of 9 talented under graduates. Shaped with essences of Kandyan, low country and Sabaragamuwa, the tri tradition of the Sri Lankan percussion art, Thurya blend offshore percussion music to give a new twist to ancient Sri Lankan drumming traditions. 

One of the aims of WoW Festival is to promote artistic learning and foster creativity. As a new addition to their curriculum, students from the University of Visual and Performing Arts will learn about site-specific performances and thereafter, develop a dance piece based around this concept to be showcased at the WoW festival. Site specific pieces are performances that aren’t constricted to theatres but emerge as a response to the place in which it is performed. The site itself (in this case, the National Corporation Grounds which will host the WoW Festival) becomes an active participant in the performance, inspiring how the dancers move their bodies and what ideas are portrayed. First to final year students will respond to the various themes dealt with at WoW Colombo, using the architecture, textures, history of the festival site, all as part of their study course. This innovative way of using a festival format to promote academic learning allows students to engage in the event in a way that goes beyond simply ‘having a good time’ at a festival. WOW Colombo is the first WOW festival in the world to use the festival to promote learning in this way.  

The above performances are just a tiny taste of what is going on at WOW on the 2nd and 3rd December.  Theater performances by the legendary Kaushalya Fernando, plus musical performances by music divas such as Umara, Ashanthi De Alwis and Nelu Adikari are all on offer for free to the public.

 With over 120 appearances in Sinhala, Tamil and English in the form of talks, theatre, music, dance and film, WOW Colombo is proud to show the rich diversity of culture that  Sri Lanka has, despite being a small island.  

WoW Festival will be held on the 2nd and 3rd of December at the National Film Corporation. All of these performances like every event at WoW are free to enter. For more information on WoW and the latest programme additions go to or call 011 4 521521.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

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