The Past is Another Country is a series of interviews with individuals distinguished for their contributions to culture and to society. In addition to discussing their individual contributions, the programmes explore the context in which each of them functioned. The interviews, by Rajiva Wijesinha, cover a range of developments in post-independence Sri Lanka, and present a panoramic view of social change in the latter half of the 20th century.
Lionel Pieris is the son of Harold Pieris, who lived at the famous Alfred House and turned it into a centre for drama and other cultural activities. He was the brother in law of George Keyt and the confidante of the photographer Lionel Wendt, in whose memory he built the Lionel Wendt Theatre. His son Lionel describes the commitment of Lionel Wendt, as well as his father, to cultural activities that promoted a Sri Lankan identity.