Arts

Ugandan Women Find New Possibilities in Art World

Sunday, April 1, 2012

From literature and theater to music and art, women in Uganda are gaining social recognition. But playwright Adong Lucy Judith still had to take her play "Just Me, You and the Silence" outside the country to have it produced.

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'What makes us strong is our culture'

Tshila works to change that through mentoring with the Bavubuka Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to transform the lives of youths by connecting them with music and the arts.

"We are moving forward, but what makes us strong is our culture," she says. "Therefore, we need to be dynamic in promoting our beautiful musical heritage and not only working with hip-hop styles from abroad."

Adong Lucy Judith, an acclaimed Ugandan playwright and filmmaker, attributes some of the challenges to women's arts participation to a "culture of impossibilities as opposed to possibilities" for young women.

For example, she said a number of senior members in the theater industry in both Kenya and Uganda told her that her play, "Just Me, You and the Silence" couldn't be directed because of her writing style. But Broadway and West End directors took on the play, which showed in New York in September and is in production in the Royal Court Theatre in London.

"When I received feedback about the impossibility of my play being directable, I felt sorry for all those eager Ugandan and East African playwrights who've not been privileged to have the kind of exposure that I've been blessed to have through experiencing Broadway and the West End," she said. "Theater is first and foremost to entertain, so we can't afford to box ourselves up and, in effect, bore our audiences."

Nonetheless, Judith, who currently lectures in the Makerere University Department of Performing Arts and Film, is upbeat about women's current prospects in drama.

"I believe women playwrights and screenwriters in East Africa are doing great," she said.

Three examples of that: Ugandan playwrights Deborah Asiimwe, Angela Emurwon and Pamela Otali won the BBC African Performance playwriting competition in recent years.

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ATTRIBUTION: Adapted from original content published by the Global Press Institute. Read the original article here. All shared content has been copyrighted by Global Press Institute.

Sophie Alal is a correspondent for the Global Press Institute's Uganda News Desk. She covers topics ranging from politics to the arts.

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