Global Spotlight: East Africa

Global Spotlight: East Africa

We partnered East African Playwrights with American directors for a unique international collaboration. Over the course of a month the U.S. directors collaborated over skype with the playwrights in Africa overcoming cultural barriers and time differences to put together a workshopped staged reading of an excerpt of the play. The excerpts were performed in New York at LaMama’s Culture Hub and were broadcast live to audiences around Africa and the world creating a truly global theatre experience.




Meet the playwrights:

“Are We Here Yet?” by Ogutu Muraya, Directed by Heather Lanza

Ogutu Muraya is a playwright and performing artist specializing in storytelling. His recent translation and adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor into Kiswahili was performed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London for the Globe to Globe Festival, a build-up to the 2012 Olympics. The play received glowing reviews from British Media including a five star review from The Guardian. The play is also due to embark on an East African tour in September of 2012. His other plays include What Are the Odds?, part of The Theatre Company’s touring show dubbed ‘Fire by Ten,’ and Are We Here Yet?, first shown in Nairobi in July 2011 at the Braeburn Theatre starring Lydiah Gitachu and Joni Githui. As a storyteller Ogutu performs at schools, festivals, corporate and other events. He also uses stories in peace workshops with children. In June 2011 he performed as part of a storytelling tour at The Hay Festival- Wales, The World Heritage Center and Durham University in the UK. In 2009 he went on tour as a cast member of the critically acclaimed poetry-play Cut off My Tongue by Sitawa Namwalie. Other notable productions that he has been part of include (2009) Living Memories by Al Kags and (2010)The Matatu from Watamu that Drove into the Sea: A children’s musical by Muthoni Muchemi. Ogutu holds a BA in International Relations, is the Associate Director of The Theatre Company in Kenya and works with Kwani Trust as an Editorial Assistant.


“Silent Voices” by Lucy Judith Adong, Directed by Erwin Mas

A fall 2012 Fulbright Scholarship winner, ADONG Lucy Judith is an acclaimed Ugandan Playwright/Filmmaker of her times, who lives in her home country. She is a graduate of B.A Arts (Hons.) and a First Class Diploma in Music, Dance and Drama both of Makerere University, where she currently lectures in the Department of Performing Arts and Film. Adong is an alumna of the Royal Court International Playwrights Residency London July 2011 where she developed her play, Just Me, You and THE SILENCE, a fictional account based on events around the Uganda Anti-Gay Bill 2009 and Sundance Theater Lab, Manda 2010, where she developed her play, Silent Voices. Adong’s play, Just Me, You and THE SILENCE featured at the New Black Fest October 2011 and is presently in consideration for an Italian translation to feature at the September 2012 TRAMEDAUTORE, a theater festival in Milan dedicated to theatre and new dramaturgy from African countries. Adong, who is also an Alumna of the Maisha Film Lab, an East Africa-Asia film Lab initiated by Mira Nira, the renowned Hollywood director Moonsoon Wedding among many other notable films, writes for TV, film and radio as well. Her biggest TV credit is a staff writer’s job on, The Agency, the first ever East African TV Drama Series commissioned by the renowned South African television network M-Net. Some radio drama credit to her name includes: Rock Point 256 (2005), River Yei Junction (2007), The Nurse Mildred Drama (2011-2012). Adong is also a published writer by Macmillan and Fountain Publishers.


 “Kawuna – You’re It!” by Kemiyondo Coutinho, Directed by J.J. El-Far

Uganda’s 2011 young achiever recipient, Kemiyondo Coutinho has been writing for the African women since age 17. Her first one-woman show about Swazi women, Jabulile! went to tour internationally performing in Swaziland, South African, Uganda, Canada, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland. Kemiyondo Coutinho is pleased to share her third born “Kawuna…you’re it” with the Global Spotlight Series.She continues to write for the African Women she never found in the plays she was exposed to at a young age. Keeping in line with the nature of all her work, she hopes to vocalize silenced voices one play at a time.

“Un-Entitled” by Deborah Asiimwe, Directed by Tracy Cameron Francis

Deborah Asiimwe is an award winning playwright, producer and performer from Uganda (East Africa). Her plays have received University and Festival productions and professional readings in the United States of America, and have been produced in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya. Asiimwe is a recipient of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) Round 10 New Generation Future Leaders grant. She received a scholarship of merit from California Institute of the Arts where she graduated with an MFA in Writing for Performance. Deborah has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from Makerere University, in Kampala-Uganda. Ms. Asiimwe’s interest in storytelling and performance started in childhood, in South Western Uganda where she was raised in a culture of telling stories and oral literature. Using storytelling, song and dance, her writing is deeply rooted in lived experiences and shared realities of silenced cultures. Deborah is currently working with Sundance Institute Theatre Program in New York, leading the Sundance Institute East Africa initiative.

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