Jerome Lakshman de Silva

Artistic Director

Jerome’s involvement with Holy Family Convent has a long history, including his direction of plays and musicals like Smike and Hassan to many entries for the Annual Inter-school Shakespeare Drama Competition. Therefore it was no surprise that he was asked to create the ultimate visual image which has received accolades from audiences internationally. Jerome is now the much-loved Artistic Director of Soul Sounds, travelling with them on all their tours.

Jerome has always had theatre in his heart. Having debuted as an actor in school plays he has gone on to build a theatrical career spanning 35 years, amassing over 80 productions to his credit.

Always wishing to pass on his learning and experience, and keep the virtually amateur theatre continuing in the country; together with the interest shown by many students that he had come in contact with, Jerome formed The Workshop Players. The Workshop Players is an amateur theatre group consisting largely of teenagers and is dedicated to promoting peace through theatre.

Seen as a leading figure in theatre in Sri Lanka, Jerome received the TOYP (Ten Outstanding Young Persons) of Sri Lanka Award for his contribution to Theatre and Drama in 1982. In 2003, he became the first recipient of the YMCA Colombo's Synergy in Theatrum Award. He has also been awarded and felicitated by many leading schools and other theatre groups for services rendered in the field of theatre and drama.

Jerome’s popularity and his ingenious input into the theatrical paradigms of Sri Lanka became known when his productions included popular hit musicals that otherwise were not known to have existed among the local audiences. So much so, that his adaptation of Les Misérables in 1996 and 1997 received standing ovations night after night. The reason, Jerome had turned the only reasonably equipped theatre in Sri Lanka seating 625 persons with a 25x20 foot stage, into a revolving stage that was unimaginable while creating adaptations purely from sight of visuals seen on the brochures.

On the other hand, he had created hope of dramatic excellence for children, for whom theatre of this nature otherwise would have been only a dream. The little earnings from each of these productions set the stage for the next bigger challenge, and throughout the years Sri Lankan audiences have experienced productions such as The Royal Hunt of the Sun, West Side Story and The Lion King. To the audience, the productions had renewed their interest in theatre with zeal to make an extra effort to watch the actual productions spending colossal sums of money in terms of local currency, the next time they visit the West End, Broadway or touring productions in Singapore, Australia etc.

Such theatrical excellence made Jerome a winner of one of two scholarships among nominees from North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia to become a fellow at the Salzburg Seminar, Austria for Session 340 – “The Power of Theatre: Artistry, Entertainment, Social Commentary” in September 1996. The Course Faculty included Arthur Miller, Ariel Dorfman, Andre Brink, David Thacker, Benedict Nightingale and Christopher Bigsby. Jerome also participated in the Master Classes by Andre Brink and Ariel Dorfman while in Salzburg, with the UK's Royal National Theatre actors.

Jerome created history in Sri Lanka as the only Theatre practitioner to excel in both English and the vernacular Sinhalese theatre in Sri Lanka. This he achieved by taking his maiden Sinhala production, translating the personally endorsed script of Ariel Dorfman’s Widows to winning four awards and an honourable mention at the National Drama Festival 2004.
Of the many roles Jerome has played on stage amounting to over 80 (as in some productions he has played multiple characters) he rates the roles of Dromio Twins in Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, Ali Hakim in Oklahoma, Kwame Nkruma in Nkrumah Ni Africa Ni, Julius Caesar in Julius Caesar, Bottom in A Midsummer Nights Dream, Sam in Athol Fugard’s Master Harold and the Boys, Gus the Theatre Cat in Cats, Fagin in Oliver as some of his most cherished experiences on stage.