ITLP in Tanzania 2011


The Sky is so Far from the Land, a film by Rebecca Blumhagen


Under the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro, where ITLP was born six years ago, we returned this year to two schools: Nkoandrua Secondary School and St. Margaret's Academy. Each group created an original play based on the concept of Untold Stories – what stories are held by the stones hidden in the path we walk on or the banana trees sheltering our bomas? What characters can you create using only a scarf, and how do they see the world from their point of view? How can we use our imaginations to tell stories from our own unique perspective, where fantastic things can happen – I can climb a mountain in a day, cross the ocean in an hour, create my own tribe and song and dance and history and then turn into a bird to fly over it all?

Three proud classes (20 students each) performed their plays at the Patandi Soccer field, beginning with the entire company of sixty performing these lines from the prologue of Henry V:

O, for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act,
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

After our final performance a parent stood up and told the students how proud she was, saying, "Even me, I studied English, but it remained hidden from me. But you have really known it!"

The Tanzania teaching artists this year were all alumni from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. Grace Gachocha, theatre alumni of the University of Dar Es Salaam, co-directed the festival and led a two-week continuing education workshop for teachers at Nkoanrua Secondary School on how to use theater techniques in their everyday classrooms to engage students and teach any subject matter.

See photos of our 2011 workshops.

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