PERTH, AUSTRALIA (Sudanow) - Award-winning Australian-Sudanese writer, Afeif Ismail, will attend and speak at the International 5th Theatre for Children and Young People Researchers and Critics International Forum in Buenos Aires, Argentina (17-21 September 2018).
Afeif was chosen to join five other international artists on a panel that will discuss the topic ‘Present and Future of Theatre of Young Audiences Playwriting Around the World’. Afeif will share the panel with Cristina Goddfridsson, from Sweden, Suzanne Lebeau from Canada, Deirdre Lavrakas from USA.
The goal of this Forum is to make a theoretical contribution to Theatre for Children and Young People practitioners, to promote the development of new trends. There will also be a presentation on Afeif’s books included in the program.
An extract from one of his plays, Son of the Nile, has been translated into Spanish by María Inés Falconi and will be included as a reading during the forum. “This is a magical, hilarious and moving play set on the banks of the great River Nile in Sudan where the story is told by the River itself. Son of the Nile speaks of our contact with the earth, and of the importance of honour and trust, and keeping your word. ..Son of the Nile never becomes too heavy handed or moralistic; this play is simply a great helping of theatrical fun for all ages!” said director, Dr. David Moody.
Afeif said to Sudanow, “I’ll welcome the chance to discuss how theatre is a key tool to help with settlement, integration, and fighting the stigma around mental health in new communities. I will present a paper about the role of multicultural theatre in the integration of children in the diaspora in Australia.” The success of my attendance at the conference will be measured by how much I contribute to an increased awareness in the international performance world of works by people of colour and migrants, such as my own. These voices are an important part of the world's ever changing story and are to be very much welcomed. Greater understanding of people and their lives can help celebrate diversity and increase understanding, compassion, and respect for one another.”
He added “I will also evaluate this activity by the number of new contacts I make and future productions of my work that will be realised through them. As a voluntary ambassador for the culture and civilization of the Great Black Pharaohs, I look forward to exchanging knowledge and cultural experiences with all the other artists involved in this International Forum in Buenos Aires. It's an honour to be invited to this international forum that happens every two years. I’ll bring my international involvement and experience of festivals, workshops and forums to this event. I see the Forum as an opportunity for a unique exchange of ideas and processes, and for cross-cultural dialogue. I’ll bring my African-Arabic cultural background and experiences to enrich conversations about multicultural performance, and how newcomers to Australia can enrich the arts scene.”
He also hopes this will benefit the wider community and provide further opportunities to present his work across Australia. “As an African playwright I came from the great land of the black pharaohs. This legacy has helped me plant unique theatrical seeds worldwide. It’s my hope that my unique Australian experiences of mixed identity offers a major contribution to the multicultural landscape in international theatre. This forum will enrich my creative abilities and enable me to continue my mission in life, which is writing. Moreover, the forum is a platform to share my thoughts about the process of transcreation, my unique collaboration with Dr. Vivienne Glance, which we employ to realise my work in English.”
Transcreation is an artistic reworking of a literal translation that aims to keep the cultural richness of the original language, by working with the creator of the text.
Afeif plans to build relationships with as many directors and producers as possible so he can increase opportunities for the wider production of his work for young audiences, especially his plays The African Magician, and Son of the Nile, 3 Seeds and Circles of Return.
The African Magician, produced in 2010 by Barking Gecko Theatre Company in Western Australia, was directed by Jeremy Rice and co-transcreated from Arabic by Dr. Glance. It received rave reviews, rapturous audience responses and an Australian Writers’ Guild Award nomination. Critics described it as “engaging”, “faultless in tone” and “joyous”.
Director Jeremy Rice said, “Afeif’s plays make a unique contribution to Australian theatre and challenges Western audiences’ understanding and appreciation of cross-cultural artistic practice. Afeif’s work cannot be pigeonholed as “African”, although it sometimes employs African storytelling practice and takes an uncompromising position on African and international politics.
His writing is dense with topical and historical references and always spiced with his wry humour that invites us to laugh at humanity and ourselves.
Afeif’s travel to Argentina is supported by an award from the Department of Local Government, Sports and Cultural Industries WA.
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