UNITY THEATRE'S SUMMER COLLABORATION WITH JOS REP THEATRE COMPANY AND
THE BRITISH COUNCIL IN NIGERIA
OUR HOUSE is specifically Nigerian, with the play fusing live music, dance and hard hitting acting to explore issues such as political corruption, gender inequality, HIV and AIDS, faith and forced emigration. However it is also about young people anywhere, asserting their identity, struggling with their independence and dealing with the past but looking to the future.
Whilst in Nigeria during November 2004 , Mari Binnie (artistic director of Clyde Unity Theatre) assisted JRT in the last stages of rehearsals for OUR HOUSE. I also helped them to devise a workshop format that took place with targeted audiences of young people from high schools, Universities and creative, writing groups. OUR HOUSE was performed 5 times to over 1000 people. All of the participants took part in educational workshops where the issues from the play were explored and information collated. JRT then used this workshop model when they toured OUR HOUSE to great acclaim around Nigeria during the past few months. As well as Kano, performances have taken place in Abuja, Port Harcourt and Lagos.
I also assisted the British Council in Kano to formulate a future Scottish / Nigerian project over 3 phases from '05 to late '06. The collaboration during July '05 is Phase 1 of this ambitious project and will include:
PHASE 1 ( 15 TO 24 JULY '05 )
* 3 performances of OUR HOUSE to audiences of youth and community groups in theatre venues in Glasgow, Stirling and Angus
* 3 post show audience discussion / workshops
* The opportunity to bring young people from both Glasgow and Nigeria together to create a new work-in progress drama based on the novel MY FRIEND MATT AND HENA THE WHORE by Adam Zameenzad. The production will be developed in the UK and Nigeria.
The Scottish tour will work similarly to the Nigerian model. Clyde Unity Theatre will assist contacts at each Glasgow or Scottish venue to bring in relevant youth and community groups. We would like the participants to attend for free and transport to be provided where necessary.
FUTURE PROJECT - MY FRIEND MATT AND HENA THE WHORE
I have already secured the rights towards adapting the novel MY FRIEND MATT AND HENA THE WHORE by Adam Zameenzad. The issues within this African story provides ideal material for the two groups to explore, when they come together. The themes include: famine, poverty, child exploitation and civil war. Although these are very serious issues for the young people to explore, the work is also positive and celebratory of the human spirit.
Whilst JRT are in Scotland, the actors would work with 8 young, Scottish performers as well as Clyde Unity Theatre artists who have already had previous contact with them. During this intensive 10 day exchange, the group of Nigerian and Scots would work around the themes, issues and characters from the novel. We would hope to perform this piece as a 'work in progress' at the end of the exchange in Glasgow. It would be performed as part of a double bill with OUR HOUSE to a non-paying audience of funders, friends, colleagues, youth and community groups.
PHASE 2 - OCT / NOV '05
Clyde Unity Theatre and the same 8 young performers will travel to Nigeria to develop the new work, MATT AND HENA, further. This collaborative theatre piece will be performed alongside an after show discussion / workshop