Kendu Hearth 

For an African traditional performer who effortlessly weaves epic poetry, song, dance, storytelling, music, ritual, creation of masks and puppets into one performance, what do terms like “Hybrid” or “Contemporary” mean to him/her? How should they categorize their performance styles or genres?

August 26th -31st 2013: The Kendu Hearth Conference will present a pilot programme of events on the hybrid form in theatre and performance. This will include selected master classes, conversations, presentations, debates and performances in Kampala-Uganda in different venues.

During these five days, conversations, master classes, panel discussions and performances will be presented to ensure a theoretical approach as well as practical demonstration of hybrid form of theatre. While in this space, we shall also reflect and dialogue on what ethos we carry or want to carry into our work from works that are cutting edge, works that push boundaries, and works that are experimental. The Conference will draw Speakers and Participants from three different Continents: Africa, Europe and North America.

Kendu: hearth in Alur, a Ugandan language from the West Nile region. Hearth: an area near a fireplace; “they sat on the hearth and warmed themselves before the fire”; this part of a fireplace as a symbol of the home.

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KEBUForum, in collaboration with international theatre companies IFT (It’s A Freedom Thing theatre), and Volcano Theatre present a celebratory week of public discourse on innovation and hybridity in African and international storytelling. From 26th-31st of August 2013, notable Ugandan and International theater-makers will lead conversations, offer workshops, and showcase their work at Buzz restaurant and lounge, Bugolobi, Kampala. Award-winning Kenyan writer, Binyavanga Wainaina, will deliver the keynote speech on “Owning the African narrative.”


The theme of the conference is “Innovation and Hybridity in African and International Performance.” Key topics for discussion include :


  • Sustainable theatre business practice/finding funding 
  • Embracing multiple narratives and art forms
  • Ugandanness, Africanness and Blackness
  • “She is the story”: women and the theatre
  • Theatre as a political advocate


Each day will feature public performances, including poetry by Donna Michelle St. Bernard and a musical theater piece Dawn of the Pearl by Acaye E. Pamela on Wednesday August 28, 2013 at the Sheraton hotel, Kampala. On Thursday August 29, Nova Bhattacharya, a Toronto-based Bharanatayam dancer, will blend this ancient Indian dance form with modern dance at 6pm at Buzz restaurant and lounge. Friday night will host the premier African performance of the internationally acclaimed play White Rabbit, Red Rabbit by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour; the piece will star celebrated Ugandan sketch comic Frobisha  Lwanga. 


Master classes are free but require prior online registration as space is limited; panel discussions, presentations and most other events are free and open to the public with the exception of a few paid benefit performances. FOR further information, including program details, prices, times, and to register online please visit our website at


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