I attended the FATEJ festival, and presented my production of The Ogreling. It was well received by international and African artists and audience. We held two ACYTA meetings as well as numerous other networking meetings over the course of the festival with current and prospective ASSITEJ members. I also attended the Network African Talent Meetings where we were able to plan for the future of this exciting, three year pan-African artistic development project.
The production was very well received, and we held an informal workshop for children after the show in which we demonstrated the puppetry, and aspects of the set and props to them, as well as discussing the play. The networking meetings were important in tracking various countries’ progress in ASSITEJ, and in planning for the future. There was also ample opportunity to discuss work made for children and young people in Africa, and to see different examples of this work from Chad, Benin, Senegal and Cameroun, as well as South Africa. A highlight was the workshops for the Network African Talent Project, which we feel has great potential to inspire young artists across Africa to make theatre work for children and youth and to work cross-culturally.
We had a problem with our visa company, which did not return the yellowfever certificate with the passport the day before I travelled, which could have denied me access to Cameroun. I ended up having to pay a bribe to enter the country without a yellowfever certificate. The certificate was later retrieved, scanned and emailed to me so that I had proof to the authorities on leaving. We had problems with countries not arriving for the meeting – several countries that we had anticipated would come (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Togo) were not able to come due to their inability to raise the needed funds, or get visas. This is always a problem with African travel. We set dates for 2013 at this meeting, so that everyone has ample time to work for the necessary funding. We will be sending out minutes with this information in the next week to inform those who were not able to attend.
It was too expensive to take our set with us to Cameroun, so the Cameroonians rebuilt our set for us. It was not ready in time for the first performance and performances had to be rescheduled. However, ultimately the set was well made and worked for the production, and we feel that going this route is preferable and ultimately easier, than having to deal with very expensive cargo arrangements, which are also administratively tricky.
We will be supporting Senegal, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea and Mozambique to create new centres of ASSITEJ in their countries, which is a very exciting prospect coming out of the meetings. We will be following up with each of these countries and helping them establish the centres and assisting them in their strategic planning for the coming years. We hope to have more invitations for the production to other festivals as a result of the exposure that The Ogreling got in Cameroun. We established a good relationship with the organisers of the Ravenna festival, and will be following up with them to both track the Network African Talents festival and to look for other exchange possibilities between Italy and Africa. We will be inviting German, Swedish and Camerounian productions to apply for the Out the Box Festival 2013, and hope to host at least one of these companies in SA next year. We also hope to host a festival organiser from FATEJ (Sophie Mempuh) at our National Arts Festival venue next year, so that she can gain more experience of festival management.
Grant Year : 2012
Profile : Stage director
Gender : F
To present the play “The Ogreling” as part of the International Festival of Theatre for Children and Adults (FATEJ) Festival, hosted by the Théâtre du Chocolat in partnership with ASSITEJ Cameroon. In addition, to attend the annual meeting of ACYTA (the African Children and Youth Theatre Arena), held concurrently with the FATEJ festival.
Type of Project
Departure : Cape Town, South Africa
Destination : Yaoundé, Cameroon