Swiss theatre and radio director and dramaturge Erik Altorfer has been invited to host a series of remote workshops for a group of emerging artists participating in the 8th edition of the Kampala International Theatre Festival (KITF) that will take place virtually between 24 – 28 November 2021.
Tebere Arts Foundation, who organise KITF, were introduced to Erik through his project with the Nairobi Musical Theatre Initiative (NBO MTI) earlier this year. After interacting and working closely with Erik, Karishma Bhagani of NBO MTI suggested that his expertise and experience would be beneficial to bring to the KITF as part of a more robust series of radio play programming.
The 3-day engagement with Erik during KITF will involve a masterclass for emerging artists, discussions, and a listening party.
The group of emerging artists that will take part in the workshop have been in training with KITF for the past few months, gaining exposure to a wide range of performance practices and methods of making new work. In June, the artists worked with Lulu Jemimah, a Ugandan radio-play artist and director to learn more about the form. Since then, the artists have been busy developing scripts for their own radio plays.
The masterclass with Erik aims to deepen their understanding of the radio play medium and provide skills and techniques that they can utilise as they write their own pieces. Erik will use a selection of texts by the participating artists as a jumping off point to explore directing for radio plays. The workshops will include presentations from Erik about specific aspects of directing for radio, a discussion between Erik and Lulu, and an open session where the participants can ask questions.
The masterclass will be followed by a sharing of different radio plays during a listening party as part of the festival. These will include some new radio plays that Lulu and Erik have recently worked on, as well as five of the radio plays produced by NBO MTI in collaboration with Erik earlier this year. The showing will include a panel discussion with the artists from Nairobi that were involved in the making of the radio plays, as well NBO MTI directors Eric Wainaina and Sheba Hirst.
Tebere Arts Foundation is a Ugandan organisation that creates space for performing artists to take risks, and to find and express their individual artistic voice in a free and safe space. The organisation has different annual programmes, including a lab for emerging artists, a residency for mid-career playwrights and an international theatre festival.
Erik Altorfer started his professional artistic work as an assistant director at the Schauspielhaus Zurich (Switzerland). Since 1997, he works as director and dramaturge for theatre and radio. He organised festivals commissioning and showcasing new plays in Switzerland, Austria, Egypt and Argentina. He was artistic director of the Swiss playwrights’ programme Dramenprozessor which received the Swiss Theatre Award in 2015. He held writing workshops in Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia and Egypt. Erik directed, commissioned and adapted numerous radio plays (by Agota Kristof, Tim Etchells, Annie Ernaux, Ivana Sajko, Mudar Alhaggi and many others) for German and Swiss radio stations. 2019 and 2021 he curated the audio drama / blog productions “Sounds like a Whisper” at Theatre is a Must in Alexandria (Egypt) with a dozen Egyptian and Syrian artists. 2020 several of his radio drama productions were invited to “Mawgat Cairo’s International Radio Drama Festival”. 2021 he held the masterclass “Sonic Traces” on directing audio plays for Hewar Independent Theatre Group in Alexandria. Together with the Syrian playwright Mudar Alhaggi he led writing/theatre workshops with refugees in Beirut, Graz (Austria) and Zurich (Switzerland). Erik is teaching at the Zurich Academy of the Arts, in the last years with a focus on writing and directing audio plays.