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This July 9-29, Sundance will debut its first Sundance Institute Theatre Lab East Africa on the island of Manda, off the coast of Kenya.  This Lab, guided by Philip Himberg, Producing Artistic Director of Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, will help artists with the creative process and the development of their projects.  Much like the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Sundance Institute East Africa will involve shared training and mentorship.

According to Himberg, this East African partnership honors African cultural customs, but also breaks new grounds.  Fellows and participants come from all over the region.

2010 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab in East Africa Fellows and Projects:

Cut Off My Tongue (Kenya)

Sitawa Betty Wamalwa Muragori, playwright/performer

Lillian Amimo Olembo, performer/choreographer

Cut Off My Tongue is a collection of dramatized texts that incorporate poetry, spoken word, narrative, music, dance and movement. The piece deals with interrelated stories about life in Kenya grouped around tribe and ethnicity, African womanhood, love and desire, political critique, tradition and genealogy. Although the main focus of the project is Kenya, the themes Muragori addresses cut across post-colonial Africa and the continent’s struggle to deal with the question of “Nation-State”. Muragori will develop the third part of the project to complement two parts previously written.

The Book of Life (Rwanda)

Odile Gakire Katese, conceiver/director

Ruzibiza Wesley, choreographer

Samuel Kamanzi, composer/performer

Mutangana Moise, composer/performer

Goretti Amurere, contributor

The Book of Life is formed from a collection of letters written by widows of the 1994 Tutsi Genocide to their loved ones. The project transcends space and time as illustrates the living desire to reconnect with the dead so as to go past the pain. To find healing, to find joy, to find love and to celebrate life.

Africa Kills Her Sun (Tanzania)

An Adaptation Africa Kills Her Sun by Ken Saro-Wiwa

Mrisho Mpoto, adapter/performer

Gilbert Lukalia, director

Elidady Msangi, musician

Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995) was hanged by the Nigerian dictatorship in 1995 for his activism on behalf of his Nigerian Ogoni people. The original text is a condemned man’s last letter to his loved one. Mpoto will adapt this text and use his poetic style in Kiswahili to combine it with slam poetry and storytelling to talk about corruption and abuse of power in contemporary Africa.

Silent Voices (Uganda)

Lucy Judith Adong, playwright

Grace Flavia Ibanda, choreographer

Jacob Otieno Rabong’o, director

Silent Voices mirrors the views and emotions of the real victims of the Northern Uganda war. The project explores how victims have been ignored in the constant calls to “forgive” and “reconcile” at the expense of justice. Through the protagonist, (Mother – a symbolic representation of life and death) Silent Voices examines what good citizens can be driven into by unhealthy policies.

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