The Sundance Institute Theatre Program has named the four projects that will be featured in the first East Africa Theatre Lab, taking place in July 2010 on the island of Manda, Kenya. The program is a, extension of the Sundance Institute Theater Labs, which has provided assistance to both emerging and established theater artists as part of their annual stateside program for the last seven years.
The chosen projects are Cut Off My Tongue (Kenya), written by Sitawa Namwalie; The Book of Life (Rwanda) written and conceived by Odile Gakire Katese; Africa Kills Her Sun (Tanzania), an adaptation of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s short story “Africa Kills Her Sun” directed by Gilbert Lukalia; and Silent Voices (Uganda) directed by Jacob Otieno.
In the Sundance Institute Theatre Program’s previous years, over 85 percent of the work selected for the labs has found professional production. One of these was Heidi Rodewald and Stew’s Passing Strange, which won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, and the production of which was later made into a film directed by Spike Lee. The participants in the East Africa Theatre Lab will be trained by creative advisors Liesl Tommy (United States) and George Seremba, African creative advisor (Uganda & Ireland) from America and Africa.
“Sundance Institute is honored to be partnering with an extraordinary range of emerging and established theater artists in East Africa and to be supporting new work created to be seen by audiences in this region, as well as internationally,” says Philip Himberg, producing artistic director of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program. “I am profoundly touched and inspired by the theater artists… because they represent a new generation of writers, musicians and performers engaged in new, often hybrid forms of presentation. This new work honors African cultural customs, but is fresh, distinct and innovative. These are truly the independent theater artists of East Africa. Over the last few years, Sundance Institute East Africa has focused on several levels including the exchange of working methods, sharing of developmental models and, oftentimes, direct collaboration between the American and African artists. The presence of the African theater artists at our U.S.-based Labs has both influenced and informed the work of U.S. writers and directors. I look forward to our first full-length Theatre Lab in East Africa, a region rich in long-standing theatrical and story-telling traditions.”
For more information on the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, visit http://www.sundance.org/.