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Toronto, Feb. 28, 2001 PRESS RELEASE

Manaveli Performing Arts Group, Canada’s premier Tamil theatre group, is to hold its Eighth

Festival of Theatre and Dance at the Markham Theatre, near Toronto, Canada, on March 17, 2001.

To meet the huge demand for Manaveli’s Festival among the Canadian Tamil community, the Eighth Festival is to be held in two shows, at 1300 hrs and 1830 hrs, respectively.

As in previous Festivals, the exiled Tamil world’s leading artists will come together to hold five plays. (Please refer to the sub-title The Five Plays at the end of this document for a

description of the plays.)

Since its inception in 1996, Manaveli has staged more than 25 plays, which have been hailed by the Tamil literary world as path breaking.

Manaveli has also introduced well-known English and other language playwrights, such as

Anton Checkov, Samuel Beckett, Jean Janet and Vaclav Havel, to the Tamil audience.

Tickets cost $ 10.00

For further details, please contact: Senthil at 416 – 615 – 1934

E-mail: Website :

Seventh Festival a Resounding Success

Manaveli’s Seventh Festival, held on July 23, 2000, was a resounding success.

The ethnic Tamil media in Canada, Europe, India and Sri Lanka as well as the Toronto-based

National, ethnic and alternative media had given wide pre-event publicity to the Festival, and the Tamil media followed it up with critiques.

Even though the organizers had moved the Seventh Festival to the Markham Theatre to meet

the increased demand for it among the Tamil Canadians, more than 200 people had to be

turned away for lack of seats.

The Five Plays at 2001 Festival

The first play, Verukkul Peiyyum Malai (Raining Inside the Roots), is a powerful take on

how images are created and masterfully presented without raising the slightest doubt in us about their authenticity. It has been scripted by Cheliyan, author of the ‘From the Diary of a Human’, and directed by Puranthagan, who has been involved with Manaveli since its beginning.

N Santhinathan has scripted and directed Ippadikku ஸ Pillaikal (Sincerely ஸ Your

Children), which is a take on the innocence of children and the adopted values of their parents. This play has been scripted for, and played by, children. Santhinathan is also a Manaveli veteran, and he directed a Tamil adaptation of a short story of Anton Checkov.

The third play will be Anthamum Aathiyagi (The Perpetual Cycle), which takes a hard look

at the evolution of the human race. The play has been scripted by poet Premil and directed by

R. Sivaratnam, who directed the Europe-based theatre group, Kalam.

Cheran, a well-known face in Tamil literary circles, has scripted Avan.Aval (He Dot She),

which revolves around the dynamics of a relationship. The play is directed by K Navam, who

has directed a number of plays and won a gold medal at the All-Sri Lanka Drama Competition.

The fifth play Ini Oru Edirkalam (Yet Another Future), scripted and directed by P

Vigneswaren, portrays the trials and tribulations of a young woman who had immigrated to

Canada. A former director of the Tamil service of the Sri Lankan state Television Corporation (Rupavahini), Vigneswaran has scripted and directed many plays, including Imaginations Are Not Disturbed, the first tele-drama in the Tamil-speaking world.

Background on Manaveli Performing Arts Group

Exile is a very powerful force of creativity.

It awakens deep emotions such as love, the sadness of being forced to leave that ambience

where one was born and bred, the melancholic longing for things that are always good back at home, a passion for justice, and last but not the least the trials and tribulations in building up a new life in a new country – feelings that lie so deep in heart, yet so powerful and beautiful once expressed.

The long-drawn ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has produced more than half a million Tamil

refugees, and about 200,000 of them have sought refuge in Canada. Among those who were

forced to leave their country of birth were numerous writers, poets, playwrights and artists.

A longing for serious plays and dramas that stimulate a serious cultural awareness and debate

brought a group of exiled Tamil artists together in 1996 and the Manaveli Performing Arts

Group was born.

Manaveli has so far staged more than 25 plays, and through its annual Festival of Theatre and

Dance it continues to offer a stage for exiled Tamil artists to experiment with their artistic

creativity. Even though it had been a tough time for Manaveli to recruit women artists for their First Festival, almost half the artists in the Eighth Festival, to be held on Mar. 17, 2001, will be women.

Just as any other Diasporic arts group, Manaveli strives to portray the nuances of the lost life in the country once they called home, and the trials and tribulations faced by their generation, and that of their children’s and parents’ in their adopted country, but the artists have also

transcended national and linguistic barriers in their thirst to probe and introduce classical plays of foreign origin.

This thirst has ‘Tamilized’ playwrights like Anton Checkov (The Bear), Samuel Beckett

(Waiting for Godot), Sigfried Lenz, Jean Janet (The Death Watch) and Vaclav Havel.

The directors that are involved with Manaveli are Cheran, Cheliyan, Gnanam Lambert (Thomas Lambert), A. Puranthagan, P.Vickneswaran, N. Santhinathan, P.A. Jayakaran, Gnana A. Fernando, V. Thivyarajan, Selvan-Rajan, Seevaratnam, Sudarshan Durayappa and S. Sabesan .

Manaveli ‘s audience comes mainly from the 200.000-strong Tamil community in Toronto, but its work has been hailed as path breaking by critics in India, Sri Lanka and Europe.


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