place for us'
An Singers have consistently proved that amateur groups need not
present anything less than a professional production. The average
reader may assume that a children's programme is for doting parents
who look with indulgence on squealing brats prancing on the stage.
Not so, as far as director Mary Anne David is concerned. Children
learn there is joy in singing but not without the discipline and
hard work required of any activity that can claim excellence.
Ten years ago,
children shared the stage with adults in their production of Disney
Spectacular. The then President J. R. Jayewardene was enthralled
with the finesse of the concert.
concert will predominantly be by children aged 6 to 14 and some
of the items from the fascinating programme include 'Ave Maria,'
in the finest tradition of the classics; 'When I grow up,' sophistication
from six-year-old tots; 'Couple of swells,' a take off from the
world of Fred Astaire and Judy Garland; 'This is my country,' sung
with the fervour of any patriot; 'Mother Machree,' that favourite
Irish melody and 'Everybody step,' choreographed and staged as they
would in Broadway.
There is a
bit of cream on top for the audiences. Bathiya, Santhush and Ashanti
now enjoying top position in the local charts have willingly come
in as guest artistes for the group they cut their teeth in - The
Merry An Singers.
It is also
their contribution to SUROL to whom the entire proceeds of the concert
will go to. The children of the Merry An Singers present their talent
and efforts towards families of leprosy patients who are ostracised
by society and consequently among the poorest of the poor.
Top class musicians
Neranjan de Silva and Christopher Prins will combine with Mary Anne
David for the instrumental backing. Andre David has worked out the
choreography and a ladies' committee have co-opted experts for the
galaxy of costumes.
The Merry An
Singers Junior cast will present 'A Place For Us' on November 8,
9 and 10 at the Lionel Wendt Theatre.
Due to unavoidable circumstances,
the annual sports event, Interaction organised by the Interact District
3220, has been postponed. Originally scheduled to be held on November
2 and 3, the event will now be held on November 16 and 17. The venue,
Havelock Grounds, will remain the same.
The organising commitee regrets any inconvenience caused and hopes
that participation will be as expected.
invasion of the liberal thinkers
By Ishani Ranasinghe & Marisa De Silva
Launched seven years ago, YA TV, or Young Asia Television,
has, in its own way, revolutionised Sri Lankan TV programming. They
came in at a time when state monopoly needed to be substituted with
liberal thinking. Developing concerns too were not being addressed
adequately, so although regional programmes were necessary to highlight
common issues, focus programmes on Sri Lanka were a must, they felt.
prefer to highlight success stories instead of disasters,"
says Sharmini Boyle, Editor-in-Chief, YA TV, explaining the focus
and concept of the programmes. One of the key features in their
success, she believes, was that they involved young people who did
not have previous work experience. All of them got on the job training.
"This way we are able to look and present things from a fresh
perspective," she adds.
a network of youth across South East Asia with digital cameras who
send in their local stories with appropriate pictures. Our crew
then sets about editing and re-writing the copy and including it
into the relevant programmes. "We do an average of 45 minutes
of programming a day," says Sharmini.
these seven years we have been greatly responsible for the change
in Sri Lankan TV. We challenged the stereotype manner of TV and
changed it. We were the first to bring out social issues, we showed
them that it is not a question of controlling the viewers but giving
them a choice," she continued.
production team is now based at YA TV's bright new office at Pelawatte,
which boasts of solar panels on the roof, which is their own little
contribution to the national grid.
Over the years
YA TV has developed more Sri Lanka based programmes like 'Mihisara',
'Sathi' and 'Villipu'. 'Mihisara' recently won the award for the
'Best Environmental Television Programme' at the Sri Lanka Green
Awards. This award was made by the Sri Lanka Environmental Journalists
Forum together with the United Nations Environmental Programme in
appreciation of the leadership and social responsibility they have
shown in protecting and improving the environment we live in.
which has been on air for the past one and a half years, is a weekly
programme that neither soft-pedals nor sensationalises issues but
responds to the need for clear, comprehensive and audience-relevant
information. Produced in Sinhala so that it reaches a wider local
audience, each programme focuses on a particular theme and explores
the complexities and interconnectedness of environmental issues
throughout the world.
Seneviratne, co-producer of 'Mihisara' is a trifle disappointed
that it doesn't seem to have an appeal for sponsors. "Sponsors
feel they'd be better off sponsoring a music programme or tele-drama
which is more popular with the masses. What they should realise
is that programmes of social interest too are very important,"
also hopes to start an e-club where they can organise 12 projects
for the year and together with its members, put them into action.
"It's not going to be a one off project either," says
Devaka. "We hope to suggest projects that the people of the
relevant areas can follow up and continue the good work."
and 'Vilippu' (awakening) provide opportunities for the Sri Lankan
audience to look at the need for peace in the country, as well as
at initiatives to achieve peace and reconciliation.
Sinhala) and 'Vilippu' (in Tamil) are characterised by the way they
look at issues and events from the perspectives of young people,
providing them with a platform to express their views and concerns.
these programmes we attempt to create awareness of the Sinhala issues
on the Tamil programme and vice versa," says Sulochana Peiris,
producer of Villipu says that the feedback they have got from the
audience has been good, particularly from those who are directly
involved with the war.
'Space to let',
one of their most popular programmes that has an Asian coverage,
looks at the world through a woman's eye .
covers issues ranging from the sex industry, abortion, and arranged
marriages, to education, employment and health care.
Alles, Producer-Presenter, "It's very important to have a programme
that addresses a wide spectrum of issues both positive and negative
as most often these issues are not given due attention."
As YA TV moves
on to another year, viewers can certainly look forward to more innovative
programmes from their dynamic team.