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PACE+ Dramaturgy Lab 2019

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

The PACE+ Dramaturgy lab (24-29 June 2019) is a transdisciplinary space for professional performing artists. This year the lab will be exploring the concept of the ‘performer-spectator relationship’; what thinking through this concept can do for our making, performing, planning and promotions.

Western models and static ideas of African performance are insufficient for evaluating the expanding landscape of African performing arts. Since the critical discourse and theories on African performance made for ticket buying or curated audiences is limited, the work of contemporary performers runs the risk of being misunderstood by audiences both at home and abroad and being stifled before it can reach its full potential.

The artists will come to the lab with a personal goal and leave with a plan on how to achieve it. The goal will be related to work that they presented at PACE 2018. The lab will consist of short talks, facilitated discussions, cross-art workshops, creative tasks, composing, making, giving and receiving feedback, planning, presenting and moments of self and group reflection.

The dramaturges’ role will be to serve as facilitators as the artists interrogate their artistic profile, artistic processes, their position in the arts world and what they will do with their project at hand.

PACE+ Lab Artists

Ese Brume

Ese Brume is a French/Nigerian performing artist and cultural promoter navigating between Paris and Lagos with a passion for the Arts. From literature to poetry, cinema to theatre, dance to music; these varied fields of the Arts have repeatedly merged, collided in her career as she has collaborated with theatre directors, choreographers, artists, filmmakers in her over twenty years’ experience. She began on the contemporary Parisian theatre scene, moved on to the European scene and is now in Lagos, Africa where she is fully based. Over the past two years, she has been focusing on creating her own works and has successfully staged her powerful play My Nina Simone Trip. She performed an extract of My Nina Simone Trip at the inaugural edition of the Pan-African Creative Exchange in 2018. She is currently working on a docu-fiction around and inspired from her discovery of the genius of an artist/designer, philosopher, editor, theatre performer, Demas Nwoko.

Leanetse Seekoe

Leanetse Seekoe is a writer, director, language activist and teacher. She grew up as a dancer and graduated with an Honours Degree in acting from the University of Cape Town (2013). She also holds a PGCE from the University of the Witwatersrand (2015) and a Masters Degree in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Fort Hare (2019). She has since embarked on a journey of writing about languages in South Africa. She also writes anecdotes about black women and their perspective of the world. She wrote the one-woman play - 4 cps 1 tbsp, which she has been performing since 2017. She has performed it at The Market Theatre Foundation, The Plat4orm, Kuwamba Women’s Festival and at the inaugural edition of the Pan-African Creative Exchange. She has also written and directed plays for Roadmap Ministry, including David and It Takes a Village.

Wole Oguntokun

Wole Oguntokun is the Artistic Director of Nigerian-based Renegade Theatre. He has produced and directed plays by many of Nigeria's best-known playwrights including Soyinka's Kongi’s Harvest, Osofisan’s Moruntodun, Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not To Blame and Zulu Sofola’s King Emene. He has also directed Athol Fugard’s Sizwe Banzi is dead. Renegade Theatre presented the first Nigerian play at The Globe’s Shakespeare Olympiad in London (The Winter’s Tale) in 2012 and the first Nigerian plays at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2013 and 2014. ‘The Chibok Girls: Our Story’, a play which Wole wrote about the 276 school girls kidnapped in 2014 by the Boko Haram terrorist group premiered in Lagos in 2015. The play was the subject of his live-streamed pitch during the Pan-African Creative Exchange in 2018. The play is part of the 2019 edition of Crosscurrents in Washington DC. Wole was a Global Fellow of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Johann Smith

Johann Smith is developing a career as a writer and director. He has written for stage productions, especially for youth theatre and is currently a writer for a soap opera. He has started directing amateur projects and co-direct larger professional productions. He works with DEURis Theatre, one of the companies showcased during the Pan-African Creative Exchange in 2018.

Shihaam Domingo

Shihaam Domingo is the driving force behind The Domingo Effect. “Connecting to make difference” through authentic and collaborative performing arts incentives is her strapline. The Domingo Effect started 2014 as a publicity, entertainment project and management service. The creative freedom of entrepreneurship allowed her to invest time into developing and mentoring young talent in Oudshoorn during the KKNK and the western cape during school holidays through a partnership with KykNET through mentorship workshops. Her production Die Riel Van Hip Hop based on collaboration across borders won the Fiesta for best musical theatre production nationally. Since 2016, she has been trustee on Ghoema music awards. She curated the Adam Small Celebration for Distell in November 2017. She attended the inaugural edition of the Pan-African Creative Exchange in 2018. A most recent success story of her’s is the young people from Culitzdorp in the Karoo who in one year went from dancing on a cleaned up rubbish dump to being invited to perform with one of SA’s most celebrated artist Karin Zoid at the KKNK in 2019.

Sizakele Mdi

Sizakele Mdi started her career in the performing arts as a dancer touring Czech Republic with David Hall and Rwanda and Egypt with Reginald Danster. She trained with Sibikwa Arts in 2008 and Vuyani dance theatre under Gregory Moqoma in 2009. At the end of each course, she was awarded top student and top trainee respectively. In 2010-2012, she toured France, Germany, Austria and Denmark as lead actress and dancer with the award winning Portia Mashigo and was also lead actress in the award winning play Thursday’s Child directed by Ntshieng Mokgoro. In 2013, worked as a trainee at the Forgotten Angel Theatre Collaborative. Drunken laced velvets production as a choreographer in 2013. Her second production was named Beneath the concrete and third Go goa Mamoya which won three awards at the Market theatre trade fair and Best Free State incubator production. She has recently created a fourth piece called Ndiboleke ingubo. Mdi was one of the choreographers featured at Pan-Africa Creative Exchange in 2018.

Segun Adefila

Segun Adefila is a performer and the artistic director of a youth focused arts company, Crown Troupe of Africa. His background in Yoruba traditional masquerade performance has a huge influence on his practice. His work with the Crown Troupe encompasses the art genres of dance, spoken word, music, drama and visual arts. His work is adaptable and suitable for performance in diverse spaces. His solo street performance at the inaugural edition of the Pan-African Creative Exchange in 2018 drew from the Yoruba masquerade tradition, spoken word and Afrobeat dance and music. Over the years he has been involved in various community intervention arts projects. These include - Theatre On Wheels- a nomadic theatre project, Pop Theatre – created for diverse spaces such as market squares, bus parks, pubs and street corners, the Eko Theatre Carnival- an annual arts festival with parades performances, workshops, seminars and music concerts. His latest project is the Crown Arts Resource Centre, a community intervention project and creative hub that offers a platform to the youth for self-expression through the arts.

Abdoulaye Diallo

Abdoulaye Diallo also known as BBoy Abdallah, is a dancer and choreographer. He began dancing at the age 14 with friends, on the streets of Dakar, inspired by his older brother. Through this he became part of the Senegalese hip-hop scene. In 2009 as part of Punisher Crew he won the Battle Nationale. After meeting choreographer Adzine Ben Youssef in 2011 he began to explore other dance forms performing with him at the Kaay Feec festival. Too broaden his knowledge of dance and performance he took part in a training programme as Ecoles Des Sables where he encountered traditional Senegalese dances, West contemporary forms and hybrid dance practices. He launched his own company Kaddu soon after with the support Gacirah Diagne, Kaay Feec co-director and Ben Youssef and has since choreographed three group pieces. Keen on issues to do with the environment he began to develop his first solo called Pollution which he presented as a work in progress at Pan-Africa Creative Exchange in 2018.

Kenneth Uphopho

Kenneth Uphopho is a choreographer, dancer, actor, arts manager, director and acting coach.His career in performance started in 1997 with an attraction to dance creation. Since 2009 he has committed himself to the conception, exhibition, construction and performance of theatre. His Lagos based company PAWSTUDIOS is dedicated to creating work that inspires socially relevant debates and live events. As an actor, he has appeared in over 200 stage productions. Between 2011 and 2018 he directed several critically acclaimed productions. His most recent collaborative piece that he wrote and directed titled Esther’s Revenge; which premiered at the Lagos Theatre Festival 2018. Kenneth is currently the Festival Director for Lagos Fringe, which was showcased at the Inaugural Pan African Creative Exchange in Bloemfontein, South Africa 2018. He was also the pioneer Festival Director for the British Council Lagos Theatre Festival. Kenneth is a 2019 recipient of the International Society for the Performing Arts Fellowship.

Omar Sène

Omar Sène was born in 1984 in Dakar Senegal. Enfant terrible, he abandoned school at an early age. In order to manage him, his family sent him into apprenticeship. He learnt several trades working as a furniture maker, metallic carpenter, public transport driver amongst other occupations. Simultaneously, at 14, he started spending time with traditional dancers in his neighborhood, who initiated him to the traditional dance practices. In 2001, he discovered other dance techniques through his brother Pape Sy, a founding member of Fifth Dimension, a contemporary dance company and artistic director of Pasytef / Ballet Théâtre and Passy Dance School of Dalifort. Omar enrolled in Pape Sy’s school and studied dance, theater, poetry, music, classical and modern dance, African and contemporary classes as well as classical dance training with Andrée Lorenzetti. In 2004, Omar joined the Fifth Dimension Company, under the direction of the co-founder Jean Tamba. He has presented various choreographic works in festivals in Senegal and abroad. In 2009, He began to work at the Talibou Dabo Centre in Dakar, for children with learning difficulties and give regular classes at Dakar Fort B remand center for young prisoners. He is a collaborator of Abdoulaye Diallo whose solo was presented at Pan-Africa Exchange in 2018.

Omobolanle Stephen-Atitebi

Omobolanle Stephen-Atitebi is a trained theatre artiste with over 23 years’ experience as an actor, dancer, singer, producer and TV presenter. In 2003, she won the ATAS LASU award of 'Best Actress of The Year'. She performed at the Greenwich Arts Festival, England in 2004 in the play Waingi and toured UK and Wales with the dance drama Ariya in 2005. Omobolanle has played various iconic roles such as Mrs Funmilayo Ramsome-Kuti and Madam Tinubu. She is currently working on a project that showcases the Yoruba culture and its people through the act of story telling with music, dance and drama. She performed the role of Esther in the shortened version of Kenneth Uphopho’s production of Esther’s Revenge, which was presented as part of the Pan-African Creative Exchange’s in 2018.

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