Tanzania 2009


Their Story: ITLP 2009, a film by Robert Poole

ITLP in Tanzania 2009

Throughout the month of July, International Theatre & Literacy Project teaching artists were once again in Tanzania, working with both primary and secondary school students to write, produce, and perform original plays. More than just great fun, these programs improve their English-language skills, develop their self-expression, and give them the confidence to be themselves.

And just as valuable as the great stories they created in Tanzania are the stories they brought back to us. Stories of primary school students performing Shakespeare, secondary school students writing their own plays and directing their own films, and the story of Tanzanian children exposed to a wider world.

Playwriting workshops

ITLP served 120 Tanzanian students at three schools: Nkoanrua Secondary School – with two ITLP student groups and four TZ teachers, Akeri Secondary School – with two ITLP student groups and four Tanzanian teachers, and St. Margaret's Academy – with 40 middle school students, four Tanzanian teachers and one Tanzanian musician.

Ambassador Augustine Mahiga and his wife Elizabeth visited both ITLP schools while ITLP was in session. His visit was a thrilling moment for the ITLP students. Ambassador Mahiga spoke to the students in a most inspiring way about the value and necessity of using and communicating effectively the knowledge in your head – and that theatre is the best way to exercise those muscles and thus succeed in one’s professional life. He told ITLP, "This kind of arts programming has the potential to revolutionize education in Tanzania.

Midsummer in Arusha

In addition to conducting our annual playwriting workshops at Tanzanian secondary schools, ITLP conducted a unique project in a local primary school: 30 primary school students brought Shakespeare to life in an adaptation of Midsummer Night’s Dream, set in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

See the children rehearse and perform in this photo diary.



Professional Development Initiative  

2009 was also the year in which ITLP launched its Professional Development Initiative in partnership with Columbia University’s Teachers College. Read more about it here.


Filmmaker Robert Poole not only created a documentary on ITLP’s work in Tanzania, Their Story: ITLP 2009 (see above).

He also mentored his assistant, ITLP alumnus Calvin Michael, in a making his own original three-minute film, No Limitation for Education – a story about a babu (grandfather) who is illiterate and decides to go to a primary school to learn to read. Calvin wrote the script, cast a friend’s babu in the lead role – and created a wonderful story about life in rural Tanzania.


Teaching Artists

All this was made possible by our wonderful team of teaching artists:

   Aimee McCabe - actress, yoga instructor
   Amanda Lichtenstein - director, poet, arts educator
   Didi Goldenhar - poet
   James Williams - returning ITLP teaching artist, TV, film & stage actor, arts educator
   Jill Marie Lawrence - actress
   Lee Sunday Evans - director
   Leigh Curran - actress, playwright, arts educator
   Marianna Houston - ITLP founder & director, actress, playwright, arts educator
   Nancy Fales Garrett - returning ITLP teaching artist, playwright, director, teacher
   Rebecca Blumhagen - returning ITLP teaching artist, actress, director, writer
   Robert Poole - filmmaker
   Sarah Bever - actress, education scholar
   Will Power - actor, playwright, poet