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Ivana Di Salvo & Mbene Mwambene | Research Trip

Tanzania | Perfomance Arts Image Ivana Di Salvo

March - April 2021 — Perfomance Arts

Astragalo Theatre Group

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Ivana Di Salvo and Mbene Mwambene work together in the framework of Astragalo Theatre Groups, and share common research paths towards investigating their biological and registry growth. Their Mawazo  research trip in Tanzania, Mbene’s country of origin, will see the duo embark on a journey of exploration of identity and how we are shaped and affected by the homogenising forces of globalisation. Their concept note poses several questions and considerations, which they will reflect on during their time in Tanzania: “How much do we empty ourselves, while still having the impression of being filled, of being saturated? How do you experience moments of calm in the constant activity and acceleration imposed by our (re)productive system? How can we click on the PAUSE button and stay suspended in the abandonment of the moment? What we think, often does not correspond to reality. It is the fruit of an idealisation that takes us away and separates us more and more from ourselves and from others.”

Alongside these introspective considerations, the duo will also be exploring Tanzanian youth culture and the interplay of rural-urban aspiration, mobility and access to cultural opportunities. They are interested in the similarities and differences between Tanzania and Switzerland. Their local collaborator, Aloyce Makonde, will act as a point of contact connecting them with other local artists as well exploring movements and performance in Tanzania.


Mbene Mbunga Mwambene is a  Zambian-Malawian actor, performer, director, playwright, storyteller, poet and dancer. He holds a Masters in Expanded Theatre (Bern University of Arts), Diploma in Transcultural Collaborations (Zurich University of Arts), Diploma in Journalisms ( CEC-Polytechnic, University of Malawi) and Certificate in Journalism (Malawi Institute of Journalism). He started professional acting in Malawi in 2007 and has since then performed in South Africa, Zambia, Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.  He has for 7 years mostly performed his solo The Story of Tiger, an adaptation of Dario Fo´s The Tale of a Tigress. Besides, he also leads and facilitates theatre workshops in acting, improvisation and storytelling and workshops on racism, multiculturalism and intersectionality. Mbene also worked for MIJ radio station, Malawi Voice, and Big Issue Magazine- Malawi as a journalist.

Ivana Di Salvo was born in Palermo, Italy, where she started acting with the Teatro Zeta in Termini Imerese. She studied with M. Assmuth (Paolo Grassi Civic School), G. Gherzi, D. Manfredini and V. Del Prete, A. Scommegna, S. Zoccolan, M. Dioume, A. De Santis and AC Nicoli, Y. Nana Kouala and D. Deflorian. She starred in Cosa pensano i piedi, by R. Palazzolo and directed by A. Pandolfo, Macbeth and Amleto ed il suo doppio directed by P. Macaluso, La Vucciria directed by V. Tripodo. From 2015 to 2016 she participated in Teatro degli Incontri, directed by G.Gherzi, S. Baldini and T. Vaccaro, taking part in Occhio non vede – visioni della città nascosta. In 2017 she attended a screenwriting course at the Holden school in Torino. After collaborating on the B. Ouziguen Swiss tour in summer 2017, she founded the theatre company, Astragalo, for which she wrote her first bilingual text Deriva, performed in Switzerland in 2019.

Aloyce Makonde is a Tanzanian choreographer, dancer and power yoga teacher. He graduated at the Bagamoyo College of Arts (TASUBA ) where he received a diploma in performing arts 1997. Currently he is working with Dance Garage program with a collaboration of ASSEDEVA, as key founder, and he is a representative of African Artists for Development in Tanzania. As a dancer he worked in the Siluette Dance project with Skanes Dance Theatre choreographed by Lena Josefsson in Sweden (1998 – 2000), with Yggdrasil Dance Company in Denmark (2002), with Theatre Mestola Company Finland, 2004), TRAFFIC project East Africa (also as workshop conductor, 2005). In 2000 he was one of the founding members of Mionzi Dance Theatre the first contemporary Dance group in Tanzania and in the same year he also attended a course in performing arts at the Guildhall school of music and drama  (UK). In October 2007, he founded the first contemporary dance festival in Dar-es-Salaam Tanzania called VISA 2 DANCE FESTIVAL.

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