Reflections – Shakespeare Youth Festival

Reflections

Reflections

“Having just returned from another African country, I turned back around and headed to Kogelo, Kenya – a new community, new country, new people. Having ten directors from our SYF community versus one meant that Hamlet could explode and that’s exactly what happened. Much is credited to the “guinea pigs”-  340 village kids in Motopi, Botswana – for teaching us that Shakespeare’s Hamlet resonates with African youth. In Botswana, we started to translate Hamlet’s famous lines – their Hamlet became bilingual and perhaps the first Shakespeare to be spoken in Setswana. This informed our decision to try it in Kenya – we set the bar even higher – three languages! And what happened? The children got rid of the bar. They pulverized it with their performances.  Hamlet speaks to every young person who is frustrated, who feels powerless. Though the character Hamlet feels this way, PERFORMING Hamlet does the opposite. It empowers, it frees, it liberates.  The Sauti Kuu kids removed the bar for themselves. There are no limits as to what they can do – and know they know that.”
Blaire Baron, Artistic Director and Founder

I was overwhelmed and moved by the willingness of everyone at Sauti Kuu, from Dr. Auma, her amazing staff, led by the incomparable Dan Joshua Odour, and of course, the children, to trust us, and to take this journey with us, with courage and enthusiasm and love. I’ve always loved the way that theater telescopes time – in a rehearsal process, it takes no time at all to create real and deep bonds – and this was exponentially true of our time at Sauti Kuu. We were there for just over a week, but by the time we performed the final show, we had become a family. I loved walking across the grounds of the Sauti Kuu campus – the amount of human connection, expressed through smiles, High Fives, hugs, and simple, direct and intentional eye contact, was just glorious. The kids were fearless, and it made us feel fearless, too …
Julia Walker Wyson, Executive Director

“Africa does not touch but penetrates through and beyond the boundaries of an object. Thus we are, all, completely, and forever, stained.”
Esdras Toussaint, Teaching Artist

“Working closely with Dr. Auma Obama and the Sauti Kuu youth was both a rewarding and learning experience for me as I was inspired by the generosity, strength, and pride of their African community. I hope we continue this special relationship for many years to come.”
Kila Packett, Teaching Artist

“Theatre is the single most valuable place where children can explore the full extent of their imaginations and often be surprised at their strengths. If theatre is not present in a child life, they miss out on the opportunity to develop their, communication, work ethic, morals and working as a part of a team.”
Anniwaa Buachie, Teaching Artist

“Teaching with Los Angeles Drama Club was one experience that I will cherish forever. Working with both Sauti Kuu and LADC shaped my perspective of forever wanting to share the Arts and Theatre all over the world. The creativity of LADC and collaboration with Sauti Kuu made a beautiful art piece at our final show, which brought together many cultures through Shakespeare and Luo.”
Lily Larsen, Mentor and Member #1 of LADC