Gateway College Colombo victorious in the first ever “Distanced Shakespeare” Competition

A silver lining in the dark cloud of uncertainty and upheaval enveloping and reshaping our world appeared, much to the delight of the students of the drama clubs of Gateway College Colombo and Gateway College Kandy, when “Silent Hands Productions” in conjunction with “PodHub”, presented the opportunity to revive the legacy of The Bard with “Distanced Shakespeare” – a virtual Shakespeare Drama Competition which was held live online on Sunday the 16 th of August 2020. “Distanced Shakespeare”, the first of its kind to be held in Sri Lanka, did indeed turn out to be a novel adventure as it required the participants of the competition to recreate the magic of the dramatic works of William Shakespeare utilizing carefully selected play extracts, while grappling with one of the primary means of communication available during this period of isolation amid the pandemic: video conferencing. Thereby necessitating the performances to be carried out via a Zoom meeting.

Gateway College Colombo as well as Gateway College Kandy entered the category for School participants with their respective casts, offering their unique interpretations of the excerpts from “Henry VIII” with its particular political relevance to modern times. The main challenge the competition presented to all contestants was to achieve the level of suspension of disbelief that may be reached on stage in the presence of a live audience, while being restricted to the impersonal medium of Zoom, with the added challenge of being confined to their own personal spaces maintaining essential physical distance from their respective teams of ensembles and crew.

Despite the inherent challenges of the technology underpinning the medium of performance which the students were compelled to contend with for weeks, while exploring novel and engaging ways to reveal the intricacies of the complex characters they were called upon to portray, Gateway College Colombo emerged victorious in the first ever “Distanced Shakespeare” Competition in Sri Lanka.

Rukshala Wijesingha, Menura De Silva and Mika’il Hassan of Gateway College Colombo made their alma mater proud by winning the most coveted awards for Best Actor in a Main Female Role, Best Actor in a Main Male Role and Best Actor in a Supporting Male Role respectively. Gateway College Kandy followed suit by successfully securing the position of 1 st Runners-Up and the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Female Role. Methodist College, Colombo emerged the 2 nd Runner-up. The polished performances by all participants in the competition were praised much by the esteemed judges, Mr. Indu Dharmasena, Mr. Mohamed Adamaly and Mr. Sanith Wijeratne.

A most notable highlight of the event was the occasion for the words of accolade and advice offered by the judges to the cast and crew of Gateway College Colombo, indicating the turning of a new leaf in the field of performance arts practiced within our homeland :

“Very, very good use of the medium, costume, lighting, staging and the creativity behind the introduction.” (Mr. Sanith Wijeratne – Judge of Distanced Shakespeare 2020)

“What I really liked in particular was the fact that they also acted to screen, because there was very controlled expression of emotion.” (Mr. Mohamed Adamaly– Judge of Distanced Shakespeare 2020)

“It was very well put into the modern context.” (Mr. Indu Dharmasena – Judge of Distanced Shakespeare 2020)

A New Dimension of Activity Based Learning at Big Spark by Gateway

Gateway’s newest venture, Big Spark by Gateway, brings together the Schools of Computing, Language, Speech, and Drama, in an endeavor to promote STEAM Education with an activity based approach that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Gateway has a long heritage of energizing, enlightening and empowering children for the challenges that lay before them by fascilitating inquiry, dialogue, creativity, and critical thinking.

At Big Spark by Gateway, every child, is thought of as a universe awaiting the spark that would create an adult who is intellectually, emotionally and physically ready for the challenges that tomorrow brings. A diverse range of programmes are offered to children from the age of 4 years.

With education expected to prepare children for a fast-changing digital workplace, technology-led learning is becoming the norm. This new era of education also demands a fresh set of skills that children can apply to anything by learning to think in a logical and rational manner. These are instilled in them through the suite of technology based programmes offered at Big Spark by Gateway. Children are encouraged to unleash their creativity and think critically with the activity based programmes in Robotics, STEM, and Coding. Additionally, Gateway’s Computer Pioneers programme that is assured by Pearson Education provides the fundamental knowledge in ICT for young students. Students also have the option of getting certified for International Computer Driving License (ICDL), world's leading computer skills certification.

The ability to communicate effectively provides a great advantage for children’s success in life, both as social beings and in pursuing an education. Big Spark by Gateway endeavours to develop a rounded language skill set, focusing on Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing, in English and Tamil. English courses are taught via traditional lessons, blended learning and e-learning while courseware such as workbooks, audio and video are provided by UK publishers such as Cambridge, Pearson and Delta. All programmes are designed according to the Council of Europe Common European Framework Reference (CEFR) and thus meet the highest international standards. Courses are carried out in partnership with Pearson and Cambridge International Examinations.

The Performing Arts play a significant role in helping children develop their creative skills. The Speech & Drama programmes available at Big Spark by Gateway, allows children to be creative and playful; motivating them to recreate and enact situations. Students are not only exposed to a wide range of literature and its appreciation, but develop confidence as well as skills in reading, speaking and presenting. A panel of qualified teachers decide on the best curriculum to follow based on continuous assessments of the child. Classes are grouped in small sizes to ensure individual and customised attention. Students are presented for both foreign and local examinations, through the LAMDA, Trinity College London, IWMS and CALSDA according to their age and ability.

With a vision to provide a holistic learning experience that will produce capable, creative and confident citizens who are fueled by a fire to do good and succeed in life, the Big Spark by Gateway endeavours to instill the values of kindness, dependability, self-expression and independence, in its students.

For further information please contact any of the following branches Bambalapitiya - 0112502100 / 0112583858, Borella - 0112699642 / 0112670633, Nugegoda - 0112816815/0112829334, Moratuwa - 0112641527

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