BOOKING & CONTACT DETAILS
SAMPLE WORKSHOP ONE
SAMPLE WORKSHOP TWO
INTERVIEW: DIRECTOR – continued
THE HISTORY AND CONTEXT OF ‘A PLACE AT THE TABLE’
‘CAN WE EVER ESTABLISH PEACE’ – an article by Desire-Joseph Katihabwa
‘CAN WE EVER ESTABLISH PEACE’ - continued
THE SHOW A Place at the Table is a powerful theatrical response to the on-going troubles in Burundi, Rwanda and the African Great Lakes Region. Featuring an all-female cast, predominantly from Central/East Africa, this intimate, immersive production explores the shockwaves from the 1993 assassination of Burundis President Melchior Ndadaye backwards through colonialism to ancient legend and forwards to the Rwandan genocide and the continuing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Each audience member is invited to take a place at a large table alongside the performers and to eat, drink and join a remarkable shared act of remembering and questioning. Drawing on a range of sources including interviews with refugees and campaigners to UN Reports, A Place at the Table uses the powerful medium of verbatim theatre to create a uniquely personal experience that explores the subtle and dangerous relationship between history, identity and violence. A powerful theatrical response to the on-going troubles in Burundi, Rwanda and the African Great Lakes Region; Daedalus Theatre Company invites you to take a place at the table alongside the performers in this intimate, immersive production that creates a uniquely personal experience exploring the subtle and dangerous relationship between history, identity and violence. “...director and designer Paul Burgess has created a brilliant visual platform for this narrative via the set… a powerful testament to the act of bearing witness” Tamara Gausi, Critics Choice, Time Out
2 - 19 November 2011 CAMDEN PEOPLE'S THEATRE 58-60 Hampstead Road London NW1 2PY
Tuesday to Thursday: 7pm Friday and Saturday: 7pm & 9pm
Tickets: £12 (£8 concessions) Box Office: 08444 77 1000 Online Booking: www.cptheatre.co.uk Nearest Tube: Warren Street, Euston Square, Euston
THE COMPANY Daedalus Theatre Company is an artistic democracy that offers an open space for theatre-makers, professionals from outside the industry, and community members to make bold, research-based theatre that communicates with as wide an audience as possible and gives people the tools to engage with wider issues. The companyâ€™s structure reflects its beliefs: Daedalus is primarily concerned with how theatre can engage with and enrich society. Its co-directors are both designers by training, one of sets and costumes, the other lighting. This gives Daedalus an unusual perspective in which all elements are given equal weight in the creative process. Productions include Out of Nothing (The Junction, Cambridge) and Selfish (Camden Peoples Theatre).
Daedalus is concerned with how theatre can engage with and enrich society. The companyâ€™s work has evolved into a long-term, ambitious and seamless project. This integrates the making of sophisticated research-based performances and working with individuals. The goal is to apply the tools company members have developed as theatre-makers in support of those without a voice and to investigate aspects of human activity that are ignored, misunderstood or avoided.
WORKSHOPS OPTION ONE: Daedalus Theatre Company can attend schools, sixth forms, colleges, community and youth groups across London and Greater London to provide a two hour session
OPTION TWO: An onsite workshop at Camden Peopleâ€™s Theatre can be arranged to provide a two hour session.
OPTION THREE: An onsite private performance of A Place at the Table followed by an onsite workshop at Camden Peopleâ€™s Theatre.
These workshops can be focused on A Place at the Table, the politics and conflict within Burundi, Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region, or on the creation of a devised, political, verbatim performance. These workshops can be catered to AQA, Ed Excel and OCR syllabi for both GCSE and A Level and can be focused for students studying English Literature, Politics, History and Drama/Theatre Studies.
BOOKING & CONTACT DETAILS EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
TELEPHONE: 07890 226 380
WORKSHOP DETAILS In order to gain the most from our workshops we have designed individual units to cater specifically to A Level and GCSE English Literature, Politics, History and Drama/Theatre Studies. Below are a few example workshops, however, we are always happy to cater our workshops to the groupsâ€™ needs and time constraints â€“ please be aware that performances can only take place onsite.
General Approach Our workshops centre around the idea the theatre, in its broadest sense, can be a useful tool for dealing with personal or historical narratives. Our approach to theatre-making is to start with meticulous research, then employ a variety of arts disciplines in order to find the human truths in the difficult and often conflicting narratives. We will bring the same approach to our workshops, giving the participants an honest, accessible and professional taste of how to make research-based theatre. There are two basic workshop types but both can be tailored to the needs of particular groups. Workshops are ideally two hours with a break in the middle but can be adapted for other length sessions if prior notice is given.
Sample Workshop One: An Introduction to A Place at the Table This workshop is ideally offered as a prelude to seeing a performance of the play and can take place at the theatre or workshops leaders can visit your school.
What we will cover •
How a news story can be shown in many different lights as a result of artistic choices
A basic background to the conflict in Burundi and Rwanda
How to take a piece of research, such as an interview, and turn it into a piece of theatre.
Ideas around whether art has a responsibility to society.
Techniques for working collaboratively and evaluating.
A warm-up game.
A brief introduction to the play and its context.
• Using the research already done by the company, participants will make a short personal response in groups using at least two forms of media (installation, projection, light, movement sound, text, etc. – this is partially dependent on the resources on the resources available at the workshop venue). • The responses will be shared and discussed. If appropriate, a discussion can be had about the ethical issues raised by telling other people’s stories. • The groups will then work with the workshop leaders to integrate their short pieces into a single sequence involving the whole group, which will then be discussed and evaluated.
Sample Workshop Two: Personal Stories This workshop can function as a standalone workshop but as the techniques we share come from our devising process, it also provides an excellent an introduction to seeing the play. It can either be used to explore the participants’ own experience or can use newspaper articles about events that have effect their lives, eg local news stories. If the latter, appropriate material can be discussed.
What we will cover •
Ways of dealing with conflicting accounts of the same event
How an event can be shown in many different lights as a result of artistic choices
How the arts can give us the tools and confidence to share our personal stories or explore the events which touch our lives.
The idea of narrative (un)reliability
Techniques for working collaboratively and evaluating.
A variety of warm-up games
Participants in small groups are asked to choose a real event from their lives involving conflict (which they are happy to share) or from research material provided.
They will with workshop leaders to find non-theatrical ways of sharing the emotions generated by the event (installation, projection, light, movement sound, text, etc. – this is partially dependent on the resources available at the workshop venue).
Still working in groups and with workshop leaders they will create two conflicting accounts of the event, then create a performance using all the elements created so far.
The performances will be shared, discussed and evaluated. If appropriate, a discussion can be had about the idea of narrative truthfulness.
Jennifer Taylor White: Performer 1. How, as an actress, do you approach a devised piece of theatre? Are there difficulties that you face that are different to scripted work? I approach theatre as a puzzle and see it as my task as a performer to reinvent myself to suit the role. I find more challenge, yet more freedom in a devised piece of theatre, when I initially met with Paul to discuss the project we spoke a lot about experimentation, which is what devised theatre demands.
2. The script has been developed to include the personal reactions of the cast; what is your personal response to the politics of 'A Place at the Table'? Urgent. The process of creating the piece was literally like opening a can of worms. As an artist it is natural to us as well as being our role to shed light on dark matter, to reveal, to open, to question. Theatre is born out of the politics of the people and it is a great service to give voice to the people of Burundi and the Great Lakes region, people whose stories are silenced, as much as the piece is about/ inspired by a particular place, I like to see it as a story that is all of ours. Injustice somewhere is injustice everywhere.
3. For you, what has been the most interesting element of your journey in this production? Wow, that's difficult. I think actually sitting around the table with the audience and performing the piece. It's such a great learning experience to attempt to tell a story, especially a true story, with integrity and clarity. As well as the pieces ability to live on, I can't believe that two years later we're going to be back around the table, a real testament to the power of a story that needs to be told.
Paul Burgess: Director 1. How, as the director, have you approached this work? Are there difficulties that you face when devising theatre that are different to scripted work? The play is based entirely on research, mainly in the form of interviews, documents and articles. We also worked with some refugees and experts on the region. Our starting point was to decide which research material we thought would work well and then find the best dramatic form for it. When we started we had no idea about what the final play would look like. We did actually end up with a kind of vague script but, unlike script-based work, it emerged right at the end of the process rather than being the starting point. One of the challenges facing this kind of work is how to select what to use. For every text, image or idea we include in the show, there are a great many that we want to use but have to reject in order to make the play a cohesive whole, and to keep it understandable and not too long. Another difficulty was that, because not many people know about Burundi, we have to make sure we explain things clearly. Also, with this particular subject matter, we had decided what kind of approach we wanted to take to some of the controversial issues it raises.
2. The script has been developed to include the personal reactions of the cast and creative team; what is your personal response to the politics of 'A Place at the Table' My personal response is inevitably coloured by the fact that a schoolfriend of mine was killed by paramilitaries in Burundi and one of the main reasons I had the original idea to do this show was to try and understand why. Putting that aside and looking at Burundi as a whole, I find it very difficult to come to terms with the amount of violence this small country has suffered and how impossible it sometimes seems to imagine how it can be resolved. There's an element of complicity too. It's well known that European colonialism left many parts of Africa deeply divided, including Burundi and its neighbour Rwanda. But it doesnâ€™t end there - the Western world's desire for technology also fuels violence in the region as many minerals necessary for laptops, mobiles and so on are mined there, and the money generated attracts some pretty ruthless people. This is particularly true of the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there are lot of refugees from Burundi and Rwanda. Most are innocent victims but others are former paramilitaries. That said, there are lots of causes for hope, such as the many inspiring individuals we have read about who have rejected violence and worked to create unity. I think that telling people's stories is part of this process of healing, and this play is in part of celebration of that idea. More specifically, as both set designer and director, my personal response takes physical form in the table that's at the centre of the piece. It's a symbol of people coming together but it plays other roles too, which I think reflect our experience of creating the play. I don't want to say any more though, for fear of spoilers!
3. For you, what has been the most interesting element of your journey in this production? I know a lot more about central African history and politics than I ever thought I would! And I have developed what I feel is a very fruitful way of developing research-based theatre. But I suppose the most interesting thing has been that, rather than just follow an official version of events, we try to dig deeper. We try to explore what happens when you put conflicting accounts of events side by side, we look at the lingering influence of ancient myth, we explore what difference the actor's emotions can make to the telling of the story, and much more besides. All in all, we look at what theatre, as opposed to straight journalism, can bring to our understanding. You can judge whether you think this particular production succeeds but, as a general point, I'm now convinced that theatre can bring something to our understanding of a topic that nothing else can.
The History and Context of ‘A Place at the Table’ In this powerful, thoughtful, theatrical response to the ongoing troubles in Burundi, Rwanda and the African Great Lakes Region, each audience member is invited to take a place at a large table alongside the performers and, literally within the performance, to eat, drink and join a remarkable and moving shared act of remembering and questioning. This uniquely intimate immersive piece of theatre explores the shockwaves from the 1993 assassination of Burundi’s President Ndadaye backwards through colonialism to ancient legend and forwards to the Rwandan genocide and ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Drawing on sources ranging from original interviews with refugees and campaigners to UN Reports, this bold and original event takes visual and verbatim theatre to new places, to create a unique theatrical experience that explores the subtle and dangerous relationships between history, myth, identity and violence. The show starts like a UN conference with eye-witnesses giving contradictory accounts of the coup and then Burundi’s history and founding mythology. As the testimonies emerge, the table at which the audience is seated becomes a kitchen, a cafe, a stage, a radio-presenter’s desk. Later, panels are removed to reveal soil underneath and the table becomes a mine, a grave, an archaeological dig, a crime scene and finally a fertile place for new growth. Factual accounts give way to the performers’ own emotional responses: a dance, a poem, a political theory. Even the sound technician starts to sing. Finally, everyone comes together to honour the dead as the cast serve the audience food and invite them to stay at the table to eat, drink and talk. By presenting responses to the sometimes harrowing source material, A Place at the Table brings cast and audience together, along with those whose stories have been told, as equals around the table in a deeply engaging and stimulating piece of theatre. Burundi is a country with a rich but often tragic past. Its history and the history of the wider region are little known in the UK, apart from the atrocities in its neighbours Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A Place at the Table explores the residual racism in the West’s dealings with this part of Africa, as well as prejudices within the area itself, and looks to both the Great Lakes Region and the UK to explore the psychology of violence and self-deception, and the way these distort our perceptions of the world.
â€˜Can we ever establish peace?â€™ - an article by Desire-Joseph Katihabwa As I observe different events occurring around the world ,I notice that more and more People grow to be cold to what is happening around them, maybe, sometimes it is unbearable to realize that they are helpless. From the Age of 10, I was told that there had been massacres in certain region of Burundi, precisely in Ntega and Marangara, it happened some time in 1988, but I was not exposed to it but...it still was confusing as I watched the pictures on the news, of those who had been brutally butchered. It was around 1991, we came under attack...this time closer to home, it was right in the capital Town of Burundi, in Bujumbura. They said that Hutu Rebels had attempted to attack. In 1993, the First Democratic President of Burundi was assassinated, massacres of Tutsi and Hutu moderate followed in the same nights of the Military coup, Wednesday 20th October 1993 - 21st October 1993.A Sister of my Dad had survived massacres at a school in Kibimba, where many students had burnt alive, butchered .My Aunt told me about my Neighbour handpicked by the Headmaster of the School, his sin was...he was of the Tutsi tribe and his Dad was a High ranking officer of what they called "the Tutsi Army". I attended the funeral of my Neighbour, who was about 17 years old. The same night of 20-21October,I lost some of Grand-Parents, all butchered. Around 1991,another Young Man is brutally tortured, beaten to death, he was a Neighbour of ours, his name was Benie Bavumiragiye. Watching the pictures of his face, he had lost almost all his teeth, as I recall from my memories, you could see stab wounds all over his body ,his body had been found in a garden of a Military Pilot by the name of Budoromyi, who was later imprisoned wrongly. Later,I got information that it was a trap to blame the murder on Officer Budoromyi, it was rather some influential Members of Government of Burundi, Immigration office of Burundi (Known as PAFE)who had murdered Benie Bavumiragiye. My Dad lost his Brother in another massacre in Teza, my Uncle's wife and child were never found. One of our Neighbour, a very good Friend from College (Lycee Africain), Freddy Mandi and his Dad Colonel Mandi were shot dead on a trip in their own car.
My Father lost two of his cousins, who were both Junior Officers of the Army, they were both killed on the same day ,at the same place. My Father lost his cousin in a helicopter crash ,I can vaguely remember my Uncle Gaturi, the pilot of the helicopter. In the crash, only the Minister of Defence of Burundi Colonel Maregarege survived the crash, and apparently carried the body of my Uncle on his shoulder up to the Mountain top as they had crashed in a valley. I really don't understand the logic behind the different conspiracies that divided our Nations, to the point that both Hutu and Tutsi had no mercy to kill one another, the fact that our Officials continued to corrupt the Funds destined to the People, etc. I particularly don't understand how relevant it is to butcher a Baby just because they belong to a certain tribe. As time went on, I realized that as long as you did not belong to some of the strongest Groups ,who had all one common goal..."to steal, kill and get powerful", you were a clear target they were looking for. For example, I saw many imprisoned for expressing their views and at the same time, I witnessed Individuals who had participated in exterminating Tutsi and Hutu, being promoted in Leadership. I strongly believe that there are many Hutu and Tutsi, who have never been involved in any of the conspiracies that Burundi suffered since independence, and my question is: "Why don't we allow those clean Leaders to govern instead of allowing those we know are pure criminals?" Hutu and Tutsi continue to justify themselves why they believe they did what they did, but I don't believe it will ever benefit anything to future generations. This message is dedicated to those Hutu and Tutsi displaced People who have been going through pain in silence, those Families who have been persecuted for their opinions and views ,for those Families who lost their loved ones. I particularly dedicate this message to all of my Family killed in different massacres of Burundi, I remember my Uncle Gaspard who was killed in Teza, my Aunt who lost her Husband Colonel Dieudonne Nzeyimana, at the time, who had evidence of all Officers who plotted to kill President Melchior Ndadaye. Who killed the Husband of my Aunt Colonel Dieudonne Nzeyimana? One day, the truth will be exposed and all Burundians will gather together to put an end to 42 years of trauma and violence.