Our Offices & Partners Abroad

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Contours East Africa Performing Arts

Erik Altofer continues audio play masterclasses [Nairobi & Kampala]

Kenya Interntaional Theatre Festival


Swiss theatre and radio director and dramaturge Erik Altorfer has been invited to return to East Africa to continue his collaboration with the Kenya International Theatre Festival and Kampala International Theatre Festival focusing on audio play production.

Erik has a wealth of experience writing, producing and directing radio plays, as well as mentoring others through this process. His engagement in East Africa began in 2021 during the pandemic when he was invited by the Nairobi Musical Theatre Initiative (NBO MTI) to lead a remote masterclass for the musicians and performs to produce radio play pilots for their 14 ongoing projects. This led to an exchange between NBT MTI and Tebere Arts Foundation in Uganda, who organise the Kampala International Theatre Festival, resulting in Erik being invited to host a similar remote workshop for emerging artists, discussions, and a listening party during the festival. In 2022 these collaborations could deepen with Erik being able to travel to Kenya and Uganda to host the workshops in person.

Listen to more audio plays from #KITFest 2022

This year, Erik will host a two-week production residency in Nairobi ahead of the Kenya International Theatre Festival from 17-30 October 2023. This programme will build on the concepts and skills introduced in the 2022 workshop and include the same participants. The residency programme aims to deepen the participants’ knowledge and skills in audio play production through hands-on experience and mentorship. The programme will focus on practical skills such as scriptwriting, directing, design, voice acting, and production techniques. Titled “Echoes of the Earth: Stories of Climate Action”, the residency will explore different topics related to the climate crises and the power of stories to affect collective action. Working in groups, the participants will produce four audio plays that will be presented during #KITFest2023 from 31 October – 12 November 2023 at the Kenya National Theatre. 

In Uganda, Erik will likewise reprise his work with the emerging artists at Tebere Arts Foundation in Kampala to deepen their knowledge of writing for the ear. Lulu Jemimah, a Ugandan radio-play artist and director, will once again co-mentor the training together with five artists that participated in last year’s workshop. They will guide seven new emerging artists through the process of scripting, directing and recording four new audio stories that will be presented during the Kampala International Theatre Festival from 22-26 November 2023.

The audio play programme at both festivals will include an additional curated selection of audio stories by Kenyan and Ugandan artists created during Erik’s workshops and masterclasses. This cross-sharing of content aims to promote the exchange of cultural ideas and theatre practices in the region. All this is geared towards skilling more artists interested in this medium of telling stories for the ear, with the aim of the same artists going into their communities and working with ordinary people to share stories within their own communities and for a wider audience.

Listen to audio plays produced by Tebere Arts emerging artists


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.

[Main image: Dave Rono]