Three Questions With Shakespeare & Company Artist Indika Senanayake


Three Questions With Shakespeare & Company Artist Indika Senanayake


Indika Senanayake returns for her second season at Shakespeare & Company this summer, appearing on the Tina Packer Playhouse stage in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure August 19 through September 18.

A TCG/Mellon Foundation Global Connections Grant recipient, Senanayake appears in the short film Beast, premiering at Tribeca Film Festival next month – an addition to acting credits ranging from the stages of New York City to Sri Lanka.

In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Senanayake shared some of her recent work with Shakespeare & Company.

S&Co: What has your involvement been at Shakespeare & Company, and what effect has it had?

IS: I first worked at Shakespeare & Company last summer – it was my first live theater gig in the COVID era! Since I had studied extensively with Kristin Linklater in my MFA program at Columbia University, many aspects of Shakespeare & Company’s approach immediately felt familiar.

It’s exciting to have the opportunity to carry that training forward in new directions. Last year’s workshop production of Measure for Measure was a wonderful way to return to in-person rehearsal and performance – the warmth of the audience was tangible, and the joyful work we did together as an ensemble was sustaining after the creative drought of early pandemic times.

S&Co: What are you working on now?

IS: I recently wrapped a short film that’ll be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in June. I’m currently collaborating (as a performer) on a new work by playwright/director Deepa Purohit, a longitudinal project bringing together South Asian artists across a range of ages. It’s a scripted and devised performance/installation that engages with womanhood and the body in South Asian diasporic identity.

I’m also staying plugged into artist networks in Sri Lanka, where I was born and raised, trying to find ways to support and amplify the courageous creative resistance friends and colleagues are mounting in the midst of the current socio-economic/political crisis there.

S&Co: What other passions outside of acting do you have, and how do they enrich your life?

IS: I’m passionate about artistic bridge-building on an international scale as a creative instigator/ producer. Pre-pandemic, I produced Guillermo Calderon’s play Villa in Colombo and was invigorated by the journey of developing a shared artistic language triangulating the U.S., Chile, and Sri Lanka. Whether locally or globally, I love connecting people in the hope of sparking new possibilities for community.

I also love dashing hats, hiking, swimming in the sea, and bird-watching (like 90 percent of the planet, in recent years it seems!).

This interview is part of Shakespeare & Company’s #LiveinCompany social media campaign, an extension of its mission to live creatively, work collaboratively, and honor community. #LiveinCompany content highlights the words and work of visionaries in various disciplines and aims to answer the three questions at the heart of each of Shakespeare’s plays: What does it mean to be alive? How should we act? and What must I do?


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