ARTFARM in Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka 2015

Colombo International Festival Workshop Performance April 9

posted Jun 24, 2015, 9:59 AM by ARTFARM info   [ updated Jun 29, 2015, 8:41 AM ]

We are just coming to the end of 5 of the most exciting days of our stay in Sri Lanka -- our intensive workshop at the Colombo International Theatre Festival entitled Create, Agitate, Communicate: Generating Original Performance Material as an Ensemble. The twenty students in the workshop -- a fabulous and energized collection of professional actors, directors, teachers. drama students, and a few just interested folks -- have been generating powerful original work all week on themes close to their hearts. The group will be sharing its work for the public on Thursday, April 9 at 2 pm at the German Cultural Center in Colombo. It's free, so stop by if you are in town,
Here are a few photos from the first two days of the workshop:



ARTFARMERS busy in Sri Lanka

posted Jun 24, 2015, 9:59 AM by ARTFARM info   [ updated Jun 29, 2015, 8:43 AM ]

Press Release for Sri Lankan media -- might help give a sense of what we have been up to for the past few months:

April 3, 2015.

For Immediate Release

Subject: American Theater Artists Land in Sri Lanka

Contact: Marcella Trowbridge,, 076-840-1973


Dic Wheeler and Marcella Trowbridge, of the United States of America and the Founders and Directors of the theater company, ARTFARM, have landed in Sri Lanka.

ARTFARM is an independent, non-profit organization, founded in 2001, dedicated to creating high quality theater with a commitment to simple living, environmental sustainability and social justice.

ARTFARM received grants from the Theatre Communications Group and the Network of Ensemble Theaters to pursue theater partnerships in Sri Lanka. ARTFARM Artistic Director Marcella Trowbridge and Executive Director Dic Wheeler are spending four months on the island.

Trowbridge is bringing to Sri Lanka ARTFARM’s physically-based actor training and unique techniques for developing original, ensemble-created work based on community issues and challenges. Wheeler will is working in his signature areas of circus, clown and Commedia dell’ Arte.

Co-founders Marcella Trowbridge and Dic Wheeler have extensive history creating theater in the community and devising original work on both United States coasts, as well as abroad. ARTFARM has been dedicated to the development of performance work that engages the local community and sees theater as an opportunity for social commentary and reflection on the human condition.

While in Sri Lanka, Trowbridge and Wheeler are embarking on numerous collaborations.

ARTFARM will continue its artistic relationship work with Sri Lankan composer Gayathri Khemadasa. Wheeler and Trowbridge first worked with Khemadasa when she was in the United States as a Fulbright Scholar in 2012, performing in and assisting in the production of her original opera about the life of Indian bandit Queen Phoolan Devi. Now, with support from the Khemadasa Foundation, they are working together again this spring to reimagine the original work, “When Caged Birds Sing.” This piece will be performed in universities and in a gallery space in late April and early May.

In rehearsal for "When Caged Birds Sing" 

ARTFARM is working with Colombo’s Floating Space Theater. With founders, Ruhanie Perera and Jake Oorloff, Trowbridge and Wheeler are sharing strategies for new work development, through physical theater, storytelling and narrative, as well as strategies for sustaining small theater companies artistically, administratively and financially. Their studio time together holds the potential to broaden each company’s work practices. Floating Space and ARTFARM may offer some ‘open workshops’, so keep posted.

Mr. Wheeler and Ms. Trowbridge are leading the Workshop component of the Fourth Annual Colombo International Theater Festival. “Create, Agitate, Communicate’ is a five day Acting, Voice and Movement Intensive with 20 participants working as anensemble to create original performance pieces based on issues identified by the group as of high value. The Ephemeral Ensemble will present an informal share at The Goethe Institute on Thursday, April 9th at 2pm. ARTFARM is the first company from the United States to present in the Festival.

Generative Theater workshop at the Colombo International Theater Festival

Wheeler and Trowbridge are also working with the American Center in Colombo, and, through their Access Program, are bringing theater workshops to under-served teenagers who are new to the English language in areas around the country, including Negombo, Jaffna, Trincomalee, Bandarawela and Belihuloya.

Working with youth in Negombo

While in Sri Lanka, these American artists are humbly trying to learn about the very complex culture that exists on this island in the Indian Ocean, while sharing their ways of working, with the notion that art and theater hold the potential to cross boundaries and to foster growth in individuals and communities.

While here, Wheeler and Trowbridge are meeting many Sri Lankan artists, experiencing local and international performances, participating in forums and workshops, appearing in a local film, and ARTFARMers have been seen juggling- and teaching juggling- in parks, on beaches and at bus stops.

Ms. Trowbridge is an actress, dancer, writer, director, choreographer and theater/movement educator with thirty-plus years of experience. Marcella has written, directed and choreographed numerous original works, on topics such as exile and homelessness; war, world change and non-violent dissent; race and the economic divide, youth and violence and rising from adversity to hope, in addition to directing and choreographing classical and contemporary pieces ranging from the Indian epicThe Mahabharata to Shakespeare to Langston Hughes and Anna Deveare Smith. Marcella is the lead actress in the ARTFARM ensemble, is the founding dancer in ARTFARM's women's company, Terpsichore, and is known for her generative work with under-served populations.


Mr. Wheeler is a director, writer, performer, clown and theater educator. A specialist in physical theater, clown, Commedia dell' Arte and circus, Dic has made his living as a theater artist for 35 years in both America and in Europe. He has crafted numerous original works and directed over 80 plays. Dic grew up in Thailand and Austria, moving to America to attend university for theater studies. Mr. Wheeler was the Artistic Director of a youth theater for 25 years and is a graduate of the Dell Arte International School of Physical Theater. He has been a guest director numerous times in the Czech Republic, has toured performances through Europe and America and spearheaded groundbreaking generative theater work in under-resourced communities. He has worked as a guest artist with the Dell Arte Players, Bread and Puppet Theater and has had the privilege of working with several of the world's top clowns, including Avner Eisenberg, Bolek Polivka, Dario Fo, Geoff Hoyle, Hovey Burgess, Ronlin Foreman, Pierre Byland and David Dmitri. 

ARTFARM is a participant in the Global Connections–ON the ROAD program, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theatre. TCG seeks to support organizational efficiency of theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre.

Additionally, ARTFARM is supported by NET/TEN. The Network of Ensemble Theaters’ Travel and Exchange Network (NET/TEN) is supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable FoundationThe Network of Ensemble Theaters is a national coalition of ensembles created by and for artists, and exists to propel ensemble theater practice to the forefront of (American) culture and society.

For more information about the ARTFARM projects in Sri Lanka, or about other ongoing ARTFARM projects and productions, contact or go to follow ARTFARM’s travel blog over the coming months, go to

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