About Kanchuka Dharmasiri
Kanchuka Dharmasiri, born and raised in Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, in the neighborhood of the University of Peradeniya where she cultivated her passion for theatre and visual arts in the early years of life, has been a practitioner of theatre at the national level for over a decade.

She completed an honours degree in English at the Department of English, University of Peradeniya and taught in the same department while pursuing her multidisciplinary interests in theatre and arts. She directed several plays, conducted theatre workshops, and exhibited her paintings before joining the M.A/PhD program in Comparative Literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her practical engagement with theatre continued in the United States as she got involved with the New WORLD Theater. Visit this page for further information on Kanchuka's past and present theatre work. See here for a selection of publications and conference presentations.

Kanchuka recently completed her doctoral dissertation in which she explores how political street theatre artists in three different national contexts make innovative use of space, performance traditions, language, and audience in order to question economic, political, and cultural power structures. Her study involves a comparative analysis of the work of the Wayside and Open Theatre in Sri Lanka, People’s Theatre Forum in India (JANAM), and Bread and Puppet Theater in the United States

Current work
Kanchuka is currently teaching a wide variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses that include postcolonial theatre, critical theory, performance theory, and experimental theatre in the Department of Fine Arts at University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

[Click here to download the complete CV]

  • 2014: Ph.D. in Comparative Literature University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dissertation supervisor: Professor William Moebius Title: Transgressing Space and Subverting Hierarchies: A Comparative Analysis of Street Theater Groups in Sri Lanka, India, and the United States
  • 2008: Master of Arts. Comparative Literature. University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • 2006: Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst (expected year of completion: 2012)
  • 2002: B.A. in English. Second Class, upper division, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
  • 2001: Superior Diploma in Modern French Studies- Diplôme Supérieur d’Études Françaises Modernes, Alliance Française of Kandy, Sri Lanka
  • 1999: Diploma in the French Language- Diplôme de Langue Française, Alliance Française of Kandy, Sri Lanka

Teaching History
Lecturer, University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka (2013-present)
  -- Courses Co-Taught, Postgraduate courses
  • MA/MPhil/FNA/601: Research Methodology
  • MA/MPhil/FNA/602: Art and Aesthetic Theories
  • MA/MPhil/FNA/603: Art and Society
  • MA/MPhil/FNA/604: Art in Asia with Special Reference to Sri Lanka
  • MA/MPhil/FNA/605:  Genre Differences and Genre Specifics in Arts
  • MA/MPhil/FNA/606:  Semiotics in Art and Culture
  -- Undergraduate courses
  • FNA 101: Introduction to Fine Arts
  • FNA 102: Introduction to Art History and Aesthetics
  • FNA 205: Theatre and Drama with Practical Component I
  • FNA 214: Theatre and Drama with Practical Component II
  • FNA 305: Theatre and Drama with Practical Component III
  • FNA 313: Theatre and Drama with Practical Component IV
  • FNA 315: Sri Lankan Theatre
  • FNA 404: Theatre and Drama with Practical Component V

Teaching Associate, University of Massachusetts Amherst (2007-2012)
  -- Courses Designed and Taught
  • 2012        COMPLIT 141: Good and Evil: East-West, Winter (online)
  • 2010        COMPLIT 121: International Short Story, Winter (online)
  • 2006-8    COMPLIT 121: International Short Story, Fall and Spring
  • 2007        COMPLIT 141: Good and Evil: East-West, Spring
Teaching Assistant, University Massachusetts Amherst (2004-2012)
  • 2012    ENG 397DH: Alternative Theaters: Navigating the Edinburgh Fringe. Professor Jenny Spencer, Summer (Department of English)
  • 2011    TH100: Introduction to Theater- the Politics of Performance, Professor MeganLewis, Fall (Department of Theater)
  • 2011    ENG 397DH: Alternative Theaters. Edinburgh Fringe Festival Theatre Course. Professor Jenny Spencer, Summer (Department of English)
  • 2009    COMPLIT 382: Cinema and Psyche, Professor Catherine Portuges, Spring
  • 2008    COMPLIT 151: Fictions East West, Professor Nerissa Balce, Fall
  • 2005    COMPLIT 131: Brave New Worlds, Professor David Lenson, Fall
  • 2005    COMPLIT 234: Myth, Folktales, and Children’s Literature, Professor William Moebius, Spring
  • 2004:     COMPLIT 122: Spiritual Autobiography, Professor Elizabeth Petroff, Fall

Assistant Lecturer, University of Peradeniya (2002-2004)
  -- Courses Designed and Taught
  • 2003    ENG 209: Cultural Practice and Theory
  • 2003    Writing Skills
 -- Courses Co-Taught
  • 2004    ENG 306: Developments in Twentieth-Century British Writing (with Dr. Lilamani de Silva)
  • 2003    ENG 404: An Outline of Sinhala and Tamil Literature (Kanchuka co-taught the Sinhala Theater section of the course with Mr. G.K. Haththotuwegama)
  • 2002    ENG 101: Introduction to the Study of English 1 (with Professor Walter Perera, Kanchuka taught the language component)

Visiting Lecturer/Invited Lectures
  • 2011    “Eugène Ionesco and the Theater of the Absurd.” COMPLIT 231: Comedy, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • 2010    “Street Theatre in Sri Lanka,” ENG 404: A Survey of Sri Lankan Literature, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
  • 2009    “Representation of War and Displacement in Prasanna Vithanage’s Ira Mediyama” COMPLIT 382: Cinema and Psyche, University of Massachusetts Amherst
French Instructor, Alliance Française of Kandy (1998-2002)
  • 2002    Intermediate levels 1 and 2
  • 2001    Beginners levels 1 and 2
  • 2000    Beginners level 1
  • 1999    Special program for underprivileged students and Beginners level 1
  • 1998    Special program for underprivileged students in Kandy (funded by the Sri Lankan government)