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African Theatre 11: Festivals

African Theatre 11: Festivals

Volume Editor James Gibbs
Reviews Editor Martin Banham
Series: African Theatre
Volume: 11
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 176
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    African Theatre 11: Festivals
    Book Description:

    During the last fifty years, large sums of money, huge resources of labour and vast amounts of creative energy have been invested in international theatre festivals in Africa. Under banners such as 'Reclaiming the African Past' and 'African Renaissance', the festival participants have used the performing arts to address a variety of topical issues and to confront images embedded by a century of patronising colonial expositions. The themes indicate the desire to take history by the forelock, challenge perceptions and transform communities. Volume Editor: JAMES GIBBS. Series Editors: Martin Banham, Emeritus Professor of Drama & Theatre Studies, University of Leeds; James Gibbs, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, University of the West of England; Femi Osofisan, Professor at the University of Ibadan; Jane Plastow, Professor of African Theatre, University of Leeds; Yvette Hutchison, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre & Performance Studies, University of Warwick.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-047-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Obituary of Efo Kodjo Mawugbe
    (pp. ix-x)
    James Gibbs
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    In deciding on an editorial approach to this volume on African Theatre Festivals various possibilities were considered. For example, given that African Theatre needs to be marketed through interest in relatively few, high-profile names, the possibility of tracing the impact of festivals on individual playwrights was suggested. One can, for example, imagine following Wole Soyinka through the festivals in which he participated and at which his work was produced. This would include the National Students’ Drama Festival (London, 1958, on the fringe of which The Swamp Dwellers was produced), the Commonwealth Arts Festival (UK, 1965, that prompted the premiere of...

  6. Festivals as a Strategy for the Development of Theatre in Zimbabwe 1980–2010
    (pp. 1-13)

    Because of Zimbabwe’s recent history many might consider the development of theatre in that country and the role played by festivals in it to be a special case. However, it is possible that the question of festivals as a strategy for the development of theatre in the Zimbabwean context may suggest parallels to readers in other countries in Africa and elsewhere.

    The well-known Zimbabwean playwright and authority on various aspects of arts and culture, Stephen Chifunyise¹, writes a weekly column in The Herald newspaper called ‘Theatre Corridors’. On 2 December, 2010, he wrote an article headlined ‘Festival showcases future dance...

  7. The Legacy of Festac ’77 The challenge of the Nigerian National Theatre at Iganmu
    (pp. 14-21)

    The three statements quoted above were used to justify the organisation and the celebration of African culture and civilisation in a festival held in Nigeria during January/February 1977. The festival was known formally as ‘The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture,’ and informally as ‘Festac ’77’. Apart from the justifications given above, political reasons lay behind Nigeria’s hosting of the festival. First, the 1970s was a decade of exploitation of resources that had resulted in Nigeria emerging as a major oil-producing nation. The government was benefitting from a huge increase in oil revenues at the time...

  8. Festac, Month by Month & Soyinka’s Involvement
    (pp. 22-27)

    One way in to appreciate the issues raised and impact of Festac ‘77 is through coverage in the Nigerian press, and the references that Wole Soyinka has subsequently made to the festival. In the paragraphs and pages below, significant elements are identified and relevant references are listed. From them it emerges that, in the run-up to Festac, there were delays and uncertainties. There was, for example, a concern about what Festac was celebrating, and how this related to ideas of, for example, progress and ‘primitivity’. Beside this discussion there was a division that can be polarised in the positions taken...

  9. The Dakar Festivals of 1966 & 2010
    (pp. 28-29)

    It is not easy to compare the 1966 Festival held in Dakar with that held in 2011, but a glance at the programmes offered and of the people involved immediately shows the difference. Briefly, the organisers of the 2010 Festival were unable to find good actors to fill the programmes, and could not match the well-known artists and the great men of culture who had been involved in the 1966 edition.

    This time the organisation was poor. During the second festival, people were often uncertain when and where events were going to take place. When you asked people about what...

  10. African Renaissance between Rhetoric & the Aesthetics of Extravagance FESMAN 2010 – Entrapped in Textuality
    (pp. 30-38)

    The Third Festival of Black Arts (FESMAN ) held between December 10 and 31, 2010, was announced as heralding a Renaissance of Africa and its Diaspora, through an aesthetic embrace and a celebration of its creativity and its diverse identity. It was a projective extension of a vast programme of revival and unity encompassed in the ambitious New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) initiative. President Abdoulaye Wade, initiator of the festival, was one of the proponents of NEPAD, along with Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Thabo Mbeki (South Africa) and Abdelaziz Bouteflika (Algeria). However, Wade’s brand of renaissance is a product of...

  11. Theatre Programme for FESMAN & Commentary
    (pp. 39-44)

    Baaba Maal’s recommendation seems to have been crucial in the appointment of Kwame Kwei Armah as FESMAN’s artistic director. This emerges from a newspaper article by Hannah Pool that incorporated extensive quotations from a Skype interview conducted while Armah was in Senegal for the Festival. Armah told Pool about the opportunities and challenges offered by his role in the Festival and hinted at some of the issues that confronted him. The appointment meant that he was working on a very much larger scale than he was used to and in a very different context. His participation led to some criticism...

  12. The Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) in Ghana, 1992–2010 The vision and the reality
    (pp. 45-55)

    Theatre history provides evidence of the evolution of theatre from rituals and festivals. The controversies surrounding the ceremonies relating to the life and death of Osiris in ancient Egypt notwithstanding, it is evident that some such celebration did exist, and the issue in contention, as far as theatre historians are concerned, is the impenetrable nature of the performances (Brocket 1995: 10). The Osiris celebrations, together with festivals of the Greeks celebrated in honour of the Dionysus, are only two illustrations of a substantial connection between festival and drama.

    In spite of this evident link between festivals and theatre, some critics...

  13. PANAFEST through the Headlines An annotated bibliography
    (pp. 56-67)

    The following annotated list of entries about the Festival offers an approach to preparing a history of PANAFEST that complements and extends Victor Yankah’s analysis. By way of pre-amble, the dates of the editions of the festival may be noted:

    1. 2-19 December 1992

    2. 9-18 December 1994

    3. 29 August - 7 September 1997

    4. 30 July - 8 August 1999

    5. 27 July - 3 August 2001

    6. 24 July - 1 August 2003

    7. 21 July - 1 August 2005

    8. 22 July - 1 August 2007

    9. 16 July 2009

    10. 23 July - 1 August 2011

    The earlier part of the bibliography from which these...

  14. International Festivals & Transnational Theatre Circuits in Egypt, 1988-2010 Ambassadors of no nation
    (pp. 68-74)

    Egypt’s former Minister of Culture, Farouk Hosni, inaugurated the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre (CIFTET) in 1988, when Hosni Mubarak’s regime had launched a wave of reforms aimed at globalising the national economy in accordance with International Monetary Fund guidelines. As imported commodities began to pour into Egypt in greater volume, and as satellite television channels brought in foreign genres, state officials sought pre-emptively to define the future of national culture in an era of economic globalisation. The word al-thaqafa (culture) had connoted high culture in Arabic, and the Ministry of Culture had traditionally subsidised literature and art as...

  15. The Jos Theatre Festival 2004–2011 A theatre festival in a divided community
    (pp. 75-88)

    In an article jointly written with Victor S. Dugga that appeared in African Theatre: Companies (2008), I told part of the story of the Jos Repertory Theatre (JRT). Here I will draw out a single strand from our experience - the organisation of a series of theatre festivals - and explore what lessons can be learnt from trying to foster an elaborate theatre event in a city being swept into a self-destructive spiral. Since background erupts into the foreground in this study, it is important to sketch in something of the geographical, social, cultural and political context of the city...

  16. The Grahamstown Festival & the Making of a Dramatist An interview with Andrew Buckland
    (pp. 89-99)
    JAMES GIBBS and Buckland Andrew

    The following interview with Andrew Buckland was conducted by email in March 2012.

    JG: Andrew Buckland, thank you very much for agreeing to be interviewed. Since the early 1980s, you have produced work for the Grahamstown Festival. Could you give some idea what the festival was like in those days and how you approached the prospect of performing at it?

    AB: All responses to these questions need to be prefixed by the understanding that I feel unable to comment in any authentic way on how festivals contribute to the evolution of theatre in Africa. I have no real experiential knowledge...

  17. Playscript

    • Prison Graduates with a review of a performance
      (pp. 100-139)

      The production of Efo Kodjo Mawugbe’s APTS, Acquired Prison Traumatic Syndrome, given in the presence of the playwright at the Efua T. Sutherland Drama Studio, Legon, Ghana, on 27 August 2005, represented a major outing for a new play of national significance. Sadly, the production was not as bold as the text.

      In the course of the fluid, wide-ranging drama, the audience was repeatedly reminded that there were parallels between events in the play and the history of the nation in which it was being performed. The challenge of independence was alluded to again and again, and the audience became...

  18. Book Reviews

    • Bernth Lindfors, Ira Aldridge. Vol. 1, The Early Years, 1807-1833; & Vol.2, The Vagabond Years, 1833-1852 Rochester NY: University of Rochester Press ISBN 978 1 58046 381 2: Vol 1, 2011, 387 pp. + 13 illus. ISBN 978 1 58046 394 2: Vol 2, 2011 244 pp. + 18 illus., $99/£55
      (pp. 140-142)
      Peter Thomson
    • Austin Asagba, (ed.) Cross-Currents in African Theatre Ibadan: Kraft Books, 2008 [first published by Osasu Publishers, University of Benin, 2001]. ISBN 978 978 039 121 5 np. Austin Ovigue Asagba (ed.) Theatre & Minority Rights: Perspectives on the Niger Delta Ibadan: Kraft Books, 2010 ISBN 978 978 8425 36 6 n.p.
      (pp. 142-145)
      Christine Matzke
    • Michael Etherton and John Reed, Chikwakwa Remembered: Theatre & Politics in Zambia, 1968–1972 Dublin: Original Writing, 2011, 176 pp. ISBN 978 1 908477 31 6, €25
      (pp. 145-147)
      Martin Banham
    • Kene Igweonu (ed.), Trends in Twenty-First Century African Theatre & Performance (Foreword by Temple Hauptfleisch) IFTR/FIRT African Theatre and Performance Working group: Amsterdam/ New York: Rodopi, 2011, 474 pp. ISBN 978 90 420 3386 3, €94/ US$127/ $85
      (pp. 147-151)
      Yvette Hutchison
    • Austin Ovigue Asagba (ed.) Sam Ukala: His Work at Sixty Ibadan: Kraft Books Ltd. 2008, 265 pp ISBN 978 485 44 2 9, n.p. Duro Oni & Sola Adeyemi, (eds) Developments in the Theory & Practice of Contemporary Nigerian Drama & Theatre: A Festschrift in Honour of Dapo Adelugba Rochester, UK: Alpha Crownes Publishers, 2011, 382 pp ISBN 978 0 9566837 0 0 n.p.
      (pp. 151-154)
      Osita Okagbue
    • Barclays Ayakoroma, Dance on his Grave Nigeria: Kraft Books, 2010, 94 pp. ISBN 9788425335, n.p. Barclays Ayakoroma, A Matter of Honour Nigeria: Kraft Books, 2010, 73 pp. ISBN 9788425328, n.p. Greg Mbajiorgu, Wake Up Everyone Nigeria: Kraft Books, 2011, 79 pp. ISBN 9789180059, n.p. Jonathan Desen Mbachaga, Widow’s Might Nigeria: BookWorks Publishing, 2011, viii + 40 pp. ISBN 9789140121, n.p.
      (pp. 154-160)
      Jane Plastow
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 161-161)