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Lesotho

In 2006 Nigel Watson, my colleague at the University of Sunderland, asked if Rik and I would like to join him and 5 graduating drama and performing arts students at the Winter/Summer Institute in Theatre for Development in Lesotho. 22 students and 8 lecturers from 4 countries and 3 continents were given the opportunity to collaborate on a challenging drama project on the role of gossip, rumour and silence in the spread of HIV-AIDS. The National University of Lesotho hosted, and faculty and students from the University of the Witswatersrand, Johannesburg, and Empire State College, State University of New York as well as Sunderland participated.

Together we created a remarkable piece of theatre called Dance Me to the End of Love (thank you, Leonard Cohen) which was performed at NUL, at the Maseru Sun Hotel and for villagers in the Malealea Valley. The students became facilitators, encouraging village actors to devise scenes based on their concerns in relation to the themes and in response to our play. These scenes were interwoven and performed at the 20th Anniversary Festival of Malealea Lodge on July 11.

My role was primarily that of facilitator and script writer/editor, together with Rethabile Malibo and Sele Radebe from NUL.

For more info and to see photographs of the project and Lesotho, the Switzerland of Africa, go here