Friday, December 31, 2010

Sundance Institute Calling All East African Artists-don't miss this!!!

Have you ever heard of these guys? They are a big deal.  And they are moving East Africa-ways, which is giddying news for all artists, musicians, lovers of the arts, and those who believe they create beautiful, odd things that would otherwise never get a hearing. 

If you are such an artist, this is your chance to try yourself against the best in the region…

The short of it... 
Sundance Institute East Africa is receiving submissions from East African Artists residing in East Africa. The submissions are for live performance only (-meaning if you have a play, story, poem, dance piece set to text and music that can be adopted for stage-all these are eligible) The second theatre lab on Manda Island is scheduled to take place from July 17th to July 31st 2011. The deadline to receive submissions is quickly approaching. If you would like to submit your script, please send it to or to by January 15th 2011. Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with Deborah at the above given email addresses. 

 The Longer bit.... 

Dear East African theatre artists, colleagues and friends:

Greetings from New York City in the U.S.A.! We are writing to provide you with an update on Sundance Institute East Africa activities for Year Four of our initiative. Our plan is to return to East Africa in July 2011 for our second Theatre Lab on Manda.

As you know, Sundance Institute East Africa is a program supporting exposure and exchange between U.S. and East African theatre artists. As in the U.S., our goal is to encourage the growth of individual artistic voices through mentorship and professional development opportunities. In both the design and the implementation of the Sundance Institute East Africa program, we are working to recognize and honor the specific cultural, social, political, and artistic realities of East African life, unique to each country as well as to the region.

In Year 1, five American theatre artists from the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, along with two artists from each Rwanda and Tanzania, participated in an exploratory visit to meet East African theatre artists in Nairobi, Kenya and Kampala, Uganda. In addition, Sundance Institute East Africa Artistic Associate Roberta Levitow attended the EATI (East African Theatre Institute) Festival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in November 2008. In Year 2, four American theatre artists and one Ugandan performer/producer made visits to Rwanda and Tanzania in an effort to meet additional East African theatre artists.  In Year 3, Sundance Institute East Africa conducted its first ever Theatre Lab on the island of Manda in Kenya. It was a three-week developmental retreat that provided the participating artists with the support of dramaturgs, mentors and a company of performers. The projects selected for the 2010 Lab were;
Cut Off My Tongue (Kenya) Sitawa Namwalie, playwright/performer; Lillian Amimo Olembo, performer/choreographer

The Book of Life (Rwanda) Odile Gakire Katese, conceiver/director; Ruzibiza Wesley, choreographer; Samuel Kamanzi, composer/performer; Mutangana Moise, composer/performer; Goretti Amurere, writer

Africa Kills Her Son (Tanzania) An Adaptation of Africa Kills Her Sun by Ken Saro-Wiwa; Mrisho Mpoto, adapter/performer; Gilbert Lukalia, director; Irene Sanga, writer/singer; Elidady Msangi, composer

Silent Voices (Uganda) Lucy Judith Adong, playwright; Grace Flavia Ibanda, choreographer; Jacob Otieno, director; Melvin Alusa, performer

Also participating were Creative Advisor George Seremba, playwright and from Uganda/Ireland; Andnet Dagnew, playwright, director and actor from Ethiopia; and Hellen Alumbe, storyteller and producer from Kenya.

In Year 4, we are delighted to announce that in July 2011, Sundance Institute East Africa will conduct its second Theatre Lab on the island of Manda, Kenya. This Lab will be a two-week developmental retreat providing a protected creative environment for East African playwrights and directors to develop new work with the support of dramaturgs, mentors and where possible, a company of performers. Our goal is to offer an independent-minded community for artists to engage with their work and with each other, building text, asking questions and taking risks.
The dates for the Sundance Institute East Africa Theatre Lab on Manda are July 17th – July 31st, 2011.
Please note: All participants must be available for the entire length of the Lab.


Sundance Institute East Africa is accepting open submissions from East African artists for live performance ONLY.  We are looking to support projects submitted by East African artists based in East Africa.  Sundance Institute East Africa welcomes applications for projects at any stage of development, but a full representation of the eventual vision for a work-in-progress is necessary. In order for Sundance Institute East Africa to fully evaluate your submission, in addition to submitting a play script, we require two statements:
  1. an artistic statement expressing your artistic goals for your project (including all key collaborators involved, meaning those people essential to the advancement of the project), along with the exact number and description of actors/musicians/dancers you would ideally need for your project) and
  2. a statement of how you intend to benefit your community of artists with the experience gained after participating in the Theatre Lab on Manda. In addition, we also require Resumes/Bios for each collaborator (e.g. director, choreographer, etc.).
Creative teams (playwright/director) are permitted and encouraged to apply together; (for example, East African playwright with American director, or East African playwright with African director) however, if you do not have a director attached to your project, please note that Sundance Institute East Africa will help to match you up with a director if your play is selected for inclusion in the Lab. 

Sundance Institute East Africa is interested in receiving submissions from both established and emerging theatre artists, as well as artists making a transition from areas outside of theatre. We welcome solo performers and projects for young audiences.  Artists can only submit one project. Previous applicants may re-apply. For example, if you have sent scripts for consideration over the last three years, you are permitted to re-apply with the same project provided you feel that the project has made some progress in its development. Please follow the same application process described above.

Through open submissions, Sundance Institute East Africa looks for original, compelling, human stories that reflect the independent vision of the theatre artist. We are interested in supporting a diverse and daring group of theatre artists who tell unique stories, present material in a new form, or conceptualize existing material with an innovative vision. We look for writers and collaborators who are interested in genuinely exploring their material. We believe that the Theatre Lab on Manda is more than a "space to rehearse"; but is an environment that encourages and supports risk-taking, experimentation, and rigorous re-writing and re-imagining. All submissions will be read by the Sundance Institute East Africa staff. Every effort will be made to include the participation of representatives from each of the countries in the region. 

Each full-time participating artist will receive a $500 USD expense reimbursement. Each project will be developed with a shared company of East African actors (as applicable), selected by Sundance Institute East Africa in collaboration with the lead artist of the selected projects. Sundance Institute will provide for round-trip travel expenses between all selected participants’ homes and Manda, Kenya, including air and ground transportation if available. Participants will also be provided with accommodations and all meals while at the Lab.

The Sundance Institute Theatre Program will manage the selection of actors from East Africa, as well as mentors. At the end of the Theatre Lab, projects will culminate in an informal presentation for the Lab community only, followed by a feedback session with Sundance Institute artistic staff and guest Creative Advisors (mentors).

HOW T O APPLY                                                                                                                                                                                               
You are permitted to apply with only one project.  Make sure you submit all the application materials.
Materials include:
  • Script Draft of your play or live performance piece.  Videos and photographs are acceptable. 
  • One page Artistic Statement (If applying as a playwright/director team, Sundance Institute requires a statement from both the playwright and director.)
    • Describe the status of the project, including prior readings and workshops, and what you hope to accomplish while at the Lab. Include comments on the content, style of the piece and the team's objectives for the workshop. Please include the number of actors your project requires and specific descriptions of each role.
  • Resumes, bios or CV's for each collaborator, including up-to-date contact information.
  • One Page Statement of how you intend to benefit your artistic community after your Lab experience.
Send us your materials via email to or via airmail to:
Sundance Institute East Africa
180 Varick St, Suite 1330

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