The Gateway School of Speech and Drama, a school under the Gateway umbrella, is an organization geared to give children confidence in communicating and performing effectively in the field of drama. A panel of versatile teachers covers a wide syllabus, consisting of Speech and Drama; Speaking Verse and Prose; Public Speaking; Communication Skills; Spoken English; Mime; Acting; Improvisation and allied skills. Individual attention is given to students within small groups, in order to develop the student’s creative and cognitive skills along with emotional intelligence while correcting their language deficiencies.
Students are trained for examinations conducted by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), Trinity College - London (TCL), The Institute of Western Music and Speech (IWMS) and Colombo Academy of Language Skills and Dramatic Art (CALSDA).
Over the past few years, the school has produced many Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists of LAMDA across many fields of study such as Speaking Verse and Prose, Acting - Solo, Public Speaking, Acting - Duologue, Devised Drama and Musical Theatre. The school also proudly records many students who completed their Grade 8 qualifications in Reading for Performance, Group Acting as well as Group Devised Drama. The Gateway School of Speech and Drama has produced many Highest Scorers in the island each year in all four examination bodies across many subjects of study as well as across many grades. Last year, the school achieved a 100% pass rate at LAMDA, TCL and CALSDA Examinations and 99.8% pass rate at IWMS Examinations this year.
Within a short span of less than 20 years, the Gateway School of Speech and Drama, has produced 4 Licentiate Performers in Speech and Drama of Trinity College London (NQF Level 6: Equivalent to the last year of an undergraduate degree), 23 Associate Performers in Speech and Drama and 1 Associate in Communication Skills of Trinity College London (NQF Level 4: Equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree). It’s noteworthy to state that all students acquired these qualifications while they were still in school.
Malithi Alahapperuma, the first student of Gateway School of Speech and Drama to obtain 3 Licentiate Diplomas reminiscing her Speech and Drama education at the Gateway School of Speech and Drama states, “Speech and Drama lessons weren’t only about theatre studies, they also gave me opportunities to gain new life experiences. Gateway and its extremely dedicated staff were always present and helpful, guiding me through each step of the way.”
Reynal Jayatilake of Gateway College – Colombo, who is still a 16 years old; has secured 94 for his practical examinations of PCert LAMDA which is the highest recorded mark in the past 10 years in Sri Lanka. Reynal also scored 88 for his LTCL Performing (Speech and Drama) – Performance which is again the highest recorded in the school for the year. Reynal is an Associate – Performer in Speech and Drama of Trinity College London and a Gold Medalist for Acting- Solo, Acting - Duologue, Public Speaking, Devised Drama – Duologue, Speaking Verse and Prose at the London Academy of Language Skills and Dramatic Art. According to Reynal, “Unlike stereotypical classes where the subject is evidently and officially taught and listened to, Speech and Drama classes at Gateway encourages healthy, interactive learning sessions. Due to the homely environment all classmates are encouraged to express themselves freely making the teaching – learning experience completely natural and effective. Elocution not only teaches us to express emotions and ideas freely but it also sharpens our ability to listen to other people and empathize and sympathize with them, which is an important life skill. The time spent at ‘The Gateway School of Speech and Drama’, was the best in our young lives.”
Ayesha Sameer another product of Gateway College Colombo was the LCALSDA – Teacher prize winner for 2017 scoring the highest mark in the country. She also recorded the highest score for PCert LAMDA for 2017 in the entire country as well. She was closely followed by her colleague Shazna Ahamed who was also a student of Gateway College Colombo, securing the 2 nd highest in the country in both qualifications. As Ayesha states “Speech and Drama has no doubt shaped my personality in terms of confidence and courage. Learning this art not only helped me in letting go stage fright but build empathy towards people as well. Speech and Drama at Gateway opened doors to multiple opportunities and showed me drama was an art that came from the core.” Ayesha Sameer and Shazna Ahamed are recipients of LTCL – Performer (Speech and Drama), ATCL – Performer (Speech and Drama), LCALSDA – teacher (Speech and Drama), PCert LAMDA and Gold Medalists of LAMDA for Speaking Verse and Prose, Acting- Solo and Acting – Duologue awards. Ayesha is also a Gold Medalist in Public Speaking of LAMDA. Kumudri Goonetilleke and Shahra Ahamed, students of Gateway College Colombo are still 17 and 16 years of age. They are proud Associates of Trinity College London (ATCL) and were also among the top scorers for LTCL practical examinations securing 81 and 80 respectively. They both are Gold Medalists of Acting- Solo, Acting - Duologue, Public Speaking, Devised Drama – Duologue, Speaking Verse and Prose at the London Academy of Language Skills and Dramatic Art. Kumudri Goonetilleke is also a Gold Medalist in Musical Theatre at LAMDA.
Chamathka Jayasekara and Tharushie Karunatilleke who are still in school have been among the other top scorers for the LTCL Practical Examinations. Chamathka was the highest scorer for Speaking Verse and Prose and Devised Drama – Duologue in the country in 2016 and 2018 respectively. She is also an Associate – Performer in Speech and Drama of Trinity College London and Gold Medalist for Acting- Solo, Acting - Duologue, Public Speaking, Devised Drama – Duologue, Speaking Verse and Prose at the London Academy of Language Skills and Dramatic Art.
According to Imaan Mohamed who secured the Honourable mention Award for LTCL in 2017 “The knowledge and experience gained as a student of Speech and Drama has been a valuable asset in my personal and professional life, giving me confidence to undertake a variety of challenges successfully. As a four year old who entered the Speech and Drama School, my years spent at the school have been the most memorable ones.” Imaan is also an Associate of Trinity College London as well as a Gold Medallist of LAMDA for Acting – Solo.
Dasuni Jayawickrama was the prize winner for ATCL – Performer 2017 as she secured the highest mark in the country at ATCL level in 2017. She states “Being a Speech and Drama Student at Gateway has had a positive impact on me to defeat all my fears and build up a very strong personality. It moulded my character to the best version it can be. Through 8 years of Drama, today I’m a confident young woman who is able to express my opinions in front of any audience, as I’m armed with all the necessary skills.”
The Future Jobs Report presented at the World Economic Forum predicted in 2016 that Critical Thinking, Creativity, Coordinating with others, Emotional Intelligence, Negotiation and Cognitive Flexibility would be among the top 10 job skills needed for 2020. The Gateway School of Speech and Drama has equipped students under their wings with these skills as well as skills of Advanced Literacy and Writing, Communication, Empathy, the ability to learn continuously and to be adaptable. They have inculcated all this in students who pass through their gates; preparing them for jobs that are not yet created. The centre network of the Gateway School of Speech and Drama include Borella: 33/10, Gothami Road, Colombo 8. Tel: 011-2699642 / 011-2670632 / 011-2670633, Bambalapitiya: 60, Vajira Road, Colombo 4. Tel: 011-2583858 / 011-2502100, Nugegoda: 161/1, High Level Road, Nugegoda. Tel: 011 -2829334 / 0112-816815 and Panadura: 293 2/1, Galle Road, Panadura. Tel: 038-2240386 / 038-2240387