Henry Jayasena

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Henry Jayasena
Henry Jayasena1.jpg
Born(1931-07-06)6 July 1931
Gampaha, Sri Lanka
Died11 November 2009(2009-11-11) (aged 78)
Colombo South (Kalubowila) General Hospital - Sri Lanka
NationalitySri Lankan
EducationLorenz College Gampaha, Nalanda College Colombo
OccupationFilm and stage Actor , Play writer and Director
AwardsDoctor [1]

Kala Keerthi[2] Dr[3][4][5] Henry Jayasena (Sinhala: හෙන්රි ජයසේන) (6 July 1931 – 11 November 2009) born in Bendiyamulla, Gampaha was a Sri Lankan film actor and dramatist.[6]

Early life[edit]

Jayasena studied at the Gampaha branch of Lorenz College and at Nalanda College Colombo. Some of Henry's notable classmates at Nalanda College were Dr Dharmasena Attygalle, Karunaratne Abeysekera, Dr Harischandra Wijayatunga, Dr Hudson Silva, Hon. Rupa Karunathilake, Stanley Jayasinghe and Ravindra Rupasena.[7][8]

He began his career as an Assistant Teacher of English at the Dehipe Primary School in Padiyapellela in the Nuwara Eliya district in 1950 where he directed his first play, Janaki. Jaysena left this post a few months later after passing the General Clerical Service Examination and securing a job with the Public Works Department (PWD) of Sri Lanka.[9]

Henry Jayasena was presented with Nalanda Keerthi Sri award in 2003 by his alma mater Nalanda College, Colombo.[10]. It is also a coincidence that the actor Dr Jayasena received his award at Malalasekara Theatre named after first principal of Nalanda College late Professor Gunapala Malalasekera.[11]


While with PWD, Jaysena created many of his most famous plays, Pawkarayo [12] (1958) Janelaya (1962), Kuweni (1963), Thavath Udesenak (1964), Manaranjana Wedawarjana (1965), Ahas Malilga (1966), Hunuwataye Kathawa (1967), Apata Puthey Magak Nethey (1968), Diriya Mawa (1972), Makara (1973) and Sarana Siyoth Se Puthini Habha Yana (1975). Before retiring from government work, he also served as Deputy Director for the National Youth Services Council (Arts and Sports Division) and the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (Programmes Division).

Also during this time Jaysena was a reputed film actor. An early role was in Sri 296 (1959). During the 1960s Jaysena played the starring roles of Piyal in Gamperaliya (1964), Azdak in Hunuwataye Kathawa (1967), Lalith in Dahasak Sithuvili (1968)and Avurududa (1986).

He was also a reputed tele drama actor. Television was introduced in Sri Lanka in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Jayasena was involved with the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation from its early beginnings in the 1980s. One of the most famous characters he portrayed as a tele drama actor was the role of "Sudu Seeya" in the tele drama "Doo Daruwo" Directed by Nalan Mendis and written by Dr. Somaweera Senanayaka. It was the longest tele drama telecast during the 1990s, long before the "mega tele drama" craze which has overshadowed the quality of the present television programs.

He died on 11 November 2009 in Colombo, Sri Lanka.[13][14][15]


  1. ^ "New Year 2006 : Hopes and aspirations". Sunday Observer - Lakehouse Newspapers. 1 January 2006. Archived from the original on 14 November 2009. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  2. ^ National Awards Conferred by His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka
  3. ^ In memory of Henry
  4. ^ A decade of dedicated service
  5. ^ Punchi Theatre needs financial backing
  6. ^ "Sri Lankan Stage Drama". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
  7. ^ Henry Jayasena ‘A gifted and decent human being….’
  8. ^ In memory of Henry Jayasena
  9. ^ "Henry Jayasena". Upali Group of Companies. 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  10. ^ Nalanda Keerthi Sri Archived 7 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Effervescent thespian
  12. ^ Dr Henry Jayasena - some personal reflections
  13. ^ Henry Jayasena: Last of the great Sinhala dramatists
  14. ^ Henry Jayasena's funeral tomorrow

External links[edit]