Women making theatre in war study launched

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21 Mar 2014

A new project is to investigate the women making theatre in places of conflict across the world.

Susannah Tresilian

University of Manchester’s In Place of War, Manchester Alumna, theatre director and BBC radio producer Susannah Tresilian and filmmaker Georgie Weedon of Gingerwink Films, launch ARIADNE with a first mission to Rwanda and Burundi.

Tresilian connects back with her former Manchester Professor James Thompson, at IPOW, to launch the global arts project.

While there, they will meet with Hope Azeda - theatre director based in Kigali, Rwanda - and Frédérique leComte - Belgian theatre director based in Bujumbura, Burundi.  Tresilian and Weedon will be allowed unprecedented access to their work and their theatrical process. 

They will conduct in-depth interviews to find out how they work, where they work, why they work, and what their work means to them.

Around the world, some hidden in remote corners, some creating high-profile waves, around the world there are women who have chosen theatre (or theatre has chosen them) as their medium with which to engage with the environment they live in in a post or current conflict zone.  Who are these women?  What theatre are they making?

Highlights of this first project will include:

•    a performance of Amakuba (in Kirundi and French) in a public garden in Bujumbura (directed by Frédérique leComte)
•    a rehearsal of the stadium performance being prepared for the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide (directed by Hope Azeda)
•    a performance of Bridges of Roses (directed by Hope Azeda)
•    a workshop Susannah will give with the actors of Bridges of Roses

Tresilian and Weedon are working in collaboration with In Place of War to create an online digital resource - films, interviews, blogs and photos - profiling each of these amazing women. Supported by the Arts Council England, they plan to develop it to include female theatremakers in Colombia, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Palestine and Serbia, and then on.   Future plans include a festival bringing together these extraordinary women and their work in one place, and to create a network between them. 

Tresilian said, “I first encountered In Place of War whilst at university studying my BA and MA in Drama.  I worked with Professor James Thompson then, and was always inspired by the way that he connected theatre and the arts with society – either through TiPP (Theatre in Probation and Probation) or In Place of War.  I am so glad that we’ve been able to work together on ARIADNE, and the support from James, Ruth Daniel and the In Place of War team has been absolutely invaluable.“
 

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