Coming from an area famous for its “kolam” and “kavi nadagam” forms of traditional folk theatre, Rohana was inspired by a love of drama from a very early age as a growing up child. Rohana was impressed by the strong links between drama and spirituality and the way that the performing arts can be used to touch people's souls. His passion for drama led him to study at Natya Shilpa Shalika, under theatre legend Dhamma Jagoda, and at the State Institute of Theatre Arts (SITA), where he received a Diploma in Drama. He later became the Director of Natya Shilpa Shalika.
Rohana received a Diploma in Special Education from the National Institute of Education, Sri Lanka. He has successfully completed an intensive workshop on Services for Children with Special Needs, Emphasis on Intellectual Disability & PPD-Autism at MCTC Training Centre, Israel. Rohana's strengths initially was eminent in his early work in street theatre, which he learnt under Gamini Haththotuwagama. This later culminated in his work with Simon Nawagethwgama for UNICEF, where he used street theatre to spread public health messages to people living in shanties and slums in Colombo. He is also an experienced Puppeteer and was a past Chairman of the Panel on Puppetry of the Arts Council of Sri Lanka. In 1987 he led a Puppetry Group from Sri Lanka to Amsterdam and latterly a Puppet Group to Pakistan in 2000.
In between theatre work, Rohana used his Diploma on Writer-ship & Communication from the University of Sri Jayawardenepura to good effect as a Creative Journalist and Broadcaster for the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. Rohana's work took a big step forward when he first met Wolfgang Stange through his work with the German Cultural Institute. The two began to work on a series of collaborative workshops for young people with disabilities, implemented by the Natya Shilpa Shalika.
Rohana’s desire to extend his healing work right across the country led to him working with Sunethra Bandaranaike and forming Sunera Foundation. Rohana Deva has acted as Consultant to the Sunera in matters relating to mapping out its work plans, supervising and ensuring their successful implementation. With Wolfgang's emphasis on dance and Rohana's focus on drama, their collaboration laid the foundations for all of the work that went on in Sunera Foundation workshops.
After beginning to work with people with disabilities, Rohana was overwhelmed by the strength of their humanity and the genuine warmth of their response to dramatic techniques.
He has also conducted advanced workshops for teachers in Special Education in Sri Lanka as well as for leading organisations abroad, in the UK, Norway, Australia, Italy and Israel.
In 2005, Rohana was bestowed with the title ‘Kala Suri’ (Expert in Arts) by the Government of Sri Lanka for his tireless efforts to help young people, the disabled and the less fortunate to integrate into society through their performances in drama and theatre.
No. 12, Cooray Mawatha, Moragasmulla, Rajagiriya, Sri Lanka.