Kenya: MRG Street Theatre Programme spreads messages of peace

MRG's international Street Theatre Programme uses the power of theatrical performance to challenge racism against indigenous and minority groups. In Kenya, MRG has partnered with Sponsored Arts For Education (SAFE), a local charity that uses street theatre and community programmes to educate, inspire and deliver social change. Gina Rico, MRG Street Theatre Programme Assistant, recently travelled to Kenya to support the project there. Her photos (below) show a performance of SAFE's play, Ni Si Si.

Ni Si Si (or "It Is Us" in English) was written and produced by SAFE to address divisions in Kenyan society which were opened up and exploited in 2008, causing tragic violence following the elections. It tells the story of an ethnically diverse tribe in a beautiful Kenyan village. Members of the tribe are friends who, like the three 'mamas' pictured below, have lived and worked together all their lives, and who place no stock in which tribe their neighbour came from. However, rumours begin to spread and suddenly mistrust takes hold, just as it did in reality in 2008, and friends turn on each other. In the violence that follows, the two most loved characters are killed. Then the main character awakes, realising that the violence hasn’t happened yet and that he has to do everything he can to keep the peace. He works with his community to restore trust and respect, and the audience can celebrate the resilience of the community.

A fundamental feature of MRG's Street Theatre projects is feedback from communities, and engagement with majority population members in debates about diversity and tolerance. After the performance of Ni Si Si, audience members are invited on stage to discuss the lessons they have learnt about Kenyan identity, personal responsibility in achieving peace, discrimination, minority rights and the importance of refusing bribes from politicians. Many in the crowd are children and young male adults, who are keen to participate in the post performance feedback. The messages of Ni Si Si have been deeply embedded in all the communities our partner has visited - SAFE has now completed fifteen performances of Ni Si Si, reaching over 10,000 people. The next elections are in March 2013 and SAFE is working hard to galvanise people to keep the peace.

Gallery

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The actors in the play have toured in the purpose-built bus/stage around Kenya for two weeks; some of the actors are well known and recognised by the crowd
 MRG-GAL-2760
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The local partner of MRG, Sponsored Arts for Education, delivers Ni Sisi, a Street Theatre Performance about a typical Kenyan village in the context of post-election violence. This performance is in Eldoret, west of Nairobi, Kenya.
 MRG-GAL-2761
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Lots of comedy is used during the play to capture audience members of all ages and backgrounds.
 MRG-GAL-2762
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The Simba Ropa drummers attract people to the performance, parading around the area literally drumming up the audience. Music is played and there are dance competitions for the children, all adding to the good spirit and mobilisation.
 MRG-GAL-2763
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Date: 07/12/2012

Countries:

Kenya

Categories:

Culture and Tradition
Violence/Conflict
Elections/Constitution

Press Contact Information

Name: Emma Eastwood

Telephone: +44 (0)207 4224205

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