EVOLVING ADVOCACY IN THEATRE
Tracy Holsinger, playwright & director has been instrumental in beginning a creative process involving theatre and innovative performance based praxis, in stimulating audiences and participants on critical social, psychological and political reflections. Excelling in raising questions about psychology in drama, performance and everyday life, Tracy’s plays and workshops reveal the nature of conditioned bodies while unearthing questions about communication and volition. As the founder of Mind Adventures Theatre Company, we find Tracy to be a powerful creative force who has transcended the applicability of theatre from performance to active advocacy.
Tracy’s alternative theatre company Mind Adventures Co. never sought to be mainstream and maintains a penchant for experimentation. This is informed by an attitude towards reflecting socio-political concerns. “We’re always trying to push new boundaries. To this date, we’ve performed just one play at the Lionel Wendt Theatre”. The unorthodox company has been in existence for eighteen years with a continuity evident of endless questioning. “How do we position ourselves? What are the exercises, the games?”. In reaching out from other sides of the mainstream, cross-cultural workings across the island are realised.
As the grand daughter of Wendy Whatmore, of the Academy for Speech and Drama, Tracy grew up surrounded by theatre culture. Yet she annulled the allure of the calling until the early years as a young adult of sixteen, having been forced into a play called ‘Lithuania’ by World War One poet Rupert Brooke. This turning point arrived after a seemingly promised professionalism in athletics, having competed with future Olympians. She commenced training at the British Council, setting stage for an escalating interest into higher education in drama. Tracy’s university education was conducted at Goldsmiths College, London. ”I realized I wouldn’t just be acting, I will be studying theatre history, its design, education, television, radio and film”. The institution is highly progressive, having producing the likes of international British designers Damien Hirst and Vivienne Westwood.
Mind Adventures began in 1999, set up by Karen Balthazar, Michelle Perera and Tracy. It was the first contemporary theatre movement in Colombo to be created by women, apart from Wendy Whatmore’s ‘Theatre Lovers’, which staged the first ever performance of ‘My Fair Lady’. Tracy remarks that “each play was different, with mixes in acting, style and forms of theatre in order to find a deeper expression”. It was with Chatroom (2007) where Tracy met the core group members of today: Subha Wijesiriwardena, Brandon Ingram, Ruvin de Silva, Tehani Chitty and Arun Welandawe Prematilleke.
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