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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Drama group aids tsunami victim
Children of the Sea
Children of the Sea is on show in Edinburgh
A Sri Lankan teenager has spoken of how a drama group now performing at the Edinburgh Festival eased the trauma she suffered from 26 December's tsunami.

Ruwani Sitara, 15, lost seven members of her family in the disaster.

She is now taking part in Children of the Sea - based on Shakespeare's Pericles - as part of the Fringe Festival at the Royal Botanic Garden.

Drama organiser Anoja Weerasinghe said workshops had helped many children who became terrified of the sea.

Huge response

Ruwani said: "I was very disturbed after the tsunami because my family was very badly affected.

"Since I joined the Abhina drama group I was able to come out of that trauma. I was able to talk and sing before I came to Edinburgh."

She said she wanted to be a dancer when she grew up

Ms Weerasinghe, who is also an award-winning film actress, said: "Ruwani Sitara is only one of the many children who attended the workshops after being traumatised from the tsunami.

"Some children were so withdrawn and in severe mental trauma. Some were so terrified of the sea. We held some of the workshops on the beach and the instructors managed to get the children back to live with their natural surroundings."

Ms Weerasinghe said there had been a huge response and good reviews for the play.

"These children are really moved by the experience. Most of the situations in the play are interpretations of real-life experiences of these children."

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