[Theaterfacultystaff] Mother Africa Symposium

Maureen Wagner wagnerm at ohio.edu
Thu Apr 23 11:07:19 EDT 2009

Dear SOT:
The Mother Africa Symposium April 30 - May 2 schedule is attached, I  
would like to draw your attention to two of the event s that focus  
specifically on theater and invite you to include in your classes  
where possible.

April 30th Baker Center Theater
By Omofolabo Ajayi-Soyinka
Beginning with a broad panoramic view of the different forms of  
theater in Africa, spiced with some anecdotal remembrances, this  
presentation takes a critical look at the roles, struggles and  
contributions of African women to theatre across time and space.  
Drawing largely from West African theatre traditions, but not limited  
to the region, it examines the aesthetic percepts as well as the  
socio-political, cultural, and economic contexts, whether indigenous  
or foreign that have structured, hindered or promoted women¹s voices  
and visibility as theatre artists and connoisseurs. The works of  
selected theatre practitioners  writers, performers, choreographers  
and theatre owner-directors, will be used to highlight women¹s- 
centered issues in theatre as a gendered space of public  
entertainment at one level, and at another, as a microcosm of the  
larger cultural socio-political space of change and relevance.

Masquerade/Performance Traditions in Africa versus Patriarchy By  
Esiaba Irobi
This paper examines how the female imagination, iconography, physical  
presence and audience participation are central to the creation,  
cultivation and continuity of many masquerade performance traditions  
in three indigenous Nigerian cultures namely Kalabari, Yoruba, and  
Igbo culture. It uses the Alagba, Gelede and Ogbodoanyi masquerade  
traditions to show how men have, at different times and places in  
Nigeria, appropriated, usurped or resisted masquerade traditions  
created or practiced by women. The paper also uses a rich harvest of  
visual evidence to show how and why a masculine and patriarchal  
institution such as the masquerade uses a vocabulary of feminine  
symbolism and feminine visual and kinesthetic dynamics to express the  
most precious values of the performing community on the African  
continent. This continental patriarchal monopoly is, then, contrasted  
with the African Diaspora   where the women are in charge of such  
canonical and ritual performance traditions such as Santeria and  
Candomble and actually initiate men.

Maureen Wagner
Project Director, Arts for Ohio
Assistant Director, School of Theater
Kantner Hall 307
wagnerm at ohio.edu
> l
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