East Africa Theatre Institute – 5h Annual EATI Theatre Festival – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia



22nd to 27th November 2008

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


The Eastern Africa Theatre Institute was formed in 1999 in Tanzania with Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda andTanzania as founder members. The Secretariat of the Institute is based in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Among the objectives of EATI is the holding of regional festivals every two years. Since 2000, the festival has been held biannually in each member country. In 2000 it was in Ethiopia, 2002 in Uganda, 2004 inKenya, and in the last of the first round of these festivals in 2006, it was held in Tanzania. Ethiopia will host the first of the second round in November 2008.


            At regional level, the objectives of these festivals are:


(a)             To provide an opportunity for Eastern Africans to share their theatre experiences, ideas, skills and techniques.

(b)             To showcase the level of theatre excellence achieved by Eastern African theatre artists.

(c)             To provide a forum for theatre practitioners from other parts of Africa and the World to share their artistic experiences, ideas, skills and techniques with Eastern African theatre artists.

(d)             To consolidate cooperation among Eastern African theatre artists as well as with artists from other parts of African and the World.


For the Ethiopian National Chapter of EATI, there are three additional objectives:


(a)             To publicize the work of the Chapter.

(b)             To use the event as a mobilization and sensitization opportunity for greater public and private sector involvement and support for the promotion of artistic excellence in Ethiopia.

(c)             To enable Ethiopian theatre audiences to access the best theatre works from EATI member countries as well as from other parts of Africa and the World.





As the organizing chapter, our vision for this festival is to have an event that would represent the best theatre works available in the region and relevant to Eastern Africa artists and peoples.




Our mission is to run a well organized and efficiently managed festival which should be cherished and remembered by all participants for a long time to come.


Festival Theme


The festival theme is “Celebrating Cultural Diversity for African Solidarity and Peace”.  This theme was selected since the festival is considered as a platform of bringing African performing artists together to share their aspirations and forge a way forward together in this age of globalisation. There has been growing concern that our cultural differences have worked and have been used more to divide us than to enrich our lives.  The festival is thus a conscious and deliberate effort to reiterate that cultural differences should be perceived as a positive environment for understanding, tolerance and growth.


The festival includes EATI member countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) and performing artists from other African countries.  This festival includes artists from Sweden who have been involved in various exchange programmes with EATI members and is open to artists from around the world to share in our understanding of cultural diversity for peace.


Festival Venues


The main festival venue will be the National Theatre of Ethiopia.  The Addis Ababa City Administration’sCity Hall TheatreHager Fiker Theater, other cultural centers as well as academic institutions such asAddis Ababa University, will be the venues for the main events. 


Stages at all venues will be indoor.  Addis Ababa was selected because the audience there is the most prepared, developed and sophisticated in Ethiopia.  Addis Ababa will be a suitable venue for government workers and leaders, corporate people and the international community, let alone giving an opportunity to Addis residences to watch such well – selected and prepared theatre works. 


Management of the Festival

The Eastern Africa Theatre Institute -Ethiopian National Chapter/ Mekuria Theatre Studio and Entertainment (EATI-ENC/MTSE), the local hosting organisation, is responsible for the provision of management services and logistics for the festival. The chapter has appointed a steering committee with representatives from the EATI Secretariat, Addis Ababa University’s Theatre Department, Theatre House in Addis Ababa, Member of Parliament, and selected theatre practitioners and experts.


Each EATI member country shall be in charge of selecting the artiste groups that shall represent their countries at this regional festival. 



Eligibility /Criteria for the Selection:


The festival is open to all performers around the world; however groups/ individuals with unique and rich performances will be given priority. The festival organizers through the Uganda Theatre Network shall require the following from interested UTN registered member groups:



·        A written expression of interest to participate;

·        Meet own cost of International Travel to and fro Ethiopia and shipment expenses;

·        A filled in application form and sent to the UTN Offices by 23rd October 2008 ( Find the address below);

·        As a Member, you are expected to prepare your artistic presentation that you intend to take to the festival;

·        The group should not exceed 10 members, any extras shall be dully communicated to the festival organizers and wholly taken care of by the artiste-group and

  • In late October, a team from the UTN Offices will visit all interested groups that shall have filed in their application to assess their readiness and preparation to this festival and then select, on merit basis, 1 group to represent Uganda Theatre Network at the Festival.








  1. Theatre Company/Groups Profile ( Brochure if available)
  2. Artistic Heads’ Profile ( Director, Playwright, Choreographer)
  3. Brief Description of the Performance ( In 500 words)/ Synopsis of the Performance
  4. Total running time of the Performance ( Maximum of 60 minutes)
  5. A list of the names and the roles of each participant must be submitted as an attachment to the Application Form


Festival Costs


Each participating EATI Member country/ chapter shall bear all costs for their delegation including travel and per diems to cover food and accommodation. The hosting chapter shall only incur local travel expenses in Addis Ababa, as well as venue costs and refreshments during performances.


We shall provide:

·        Free performance venues with an audience size of more than 1000 and exhibition space, equipments and materials;

·        Free publicity including brochures, leaflets, handbills , interviews etc,

·        Internal transport for all participants, preparation and administration of the festival;

·        Workshop, seminar, symposium and meetings spaces and free entry to these workshops;

·        Information, publicity and documentation of the festival;

·        Free accommodation in a decent and moderate hotel for the Theatre group/company with a maximum of 10 members.

·        Per diem (US$ 20/day) for each Company/Group member while in Addis Ababa;

·        A Free festival Program/Festival Newsletter,

·        Free technical support including technical coordinator and theatre technician








 Activities of the Festival


            Activities of the festival will include the following:


(a)             Opening Ceremony


It is planned that His Excellency Girma W/Giorgis, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and His Excellency Ato Kuma Demeksa, Mayor of Addis Ababa will officiate at the opening ceremony in Addis Ababa.  The ceremony will include self-introductions of participating groups – in an artistic manner.  EATI and Guest of Honor will deliver festival inaugural speeches.  Also the occasion will be used to present awards to at least one outstanding theatre practitioner from each member country.



(b)             Festival Procession From City Hall to National Theatre


Prior to the opening ceremony there will be a procession by all participating artists through the street of Addis namely- Churchill road.  This is part of publicity campaign but also a performance of a kind.  Participating groups will be requested to prepare sorts. Participating groups will be requested to prepared short pieces with national dress/costume, especially dance and songs to be performed at designated points along the procession route.


(c)             Performances


Each EATI Member country has been invited to send two productions.  Ethiopia, as the host country, will present ten major productions.  There will be other minor local performances especially during the opening and closing ceremonies as well as for evening entertainment sessions. PACSEA-EATI cooperation project will bring three productions. Each production will be allocated a maximum of one hour running time.  In total there will be fifteen productions. Each foreign production will be performed twice- in Addis Ababa.

Performances will begin in the evening of the opening day.  On each of the proceeding days there will be two performances – the first at 16.00 to 18.00 hours and the second at 20.00 to 22.00 hours.





(d)             Exhibitions


Ethiopia’s cultural artifacts will be exhibited at the main festival venues. EATI will also show and explain to visitors activities which they have been doing only at the National Theatre venue. Each chapter/project shall bring their materials for display; such as posters, photos, videos/cds etc. The exhibitions will be on from the first to the last day of the festival, from 8.00 to 17.30 hours each day.


(e)             Seminars, Workshops, Meetings and Symposium

Festivals are occasions for direct exchange of ideas and experiences through workshops, seminars, symposia and meetings. All conferences, workshops, seminars and symposium will be held in various theatre halls and cultural centers in Addis Ababa from the second to the last day of the festival. During this festival the following will be conducted:


(i)                 A symposium on the festival theme – why it is important to advocate cultural diversity through performing arts.

(ii)               A seminar for government representatives especially from the EATI Member countries and  other  stakeholders  for  the exchange of ideas and experiences about the theatre in the region,  Africa   and  the world.

(iii)                    Follow-up PACSEA skills development workshops (arts management, lights design, sound design, costume design and dance choreography).

(iv)                  Other open workshops/seminars to be conducted including Story telling, Improvisation, Circus Theatre, Lights and Design.



  (f)     Closing Ceremony


                     The closing ceremony will be conducted on the last day of the festival with speeches by EATI and the Guest of Honor. Participation certificates will be presented to all participants.












Participants will be accommodated in Addis Ababa. The cost per single/double room will be between US $ 25 and US$ 75.



There should be no problem of finding good restaurants in Addis Ababa, with food costing between US $ 3 and 5.  Otherwise there will be light food stalls around the performance venues.



First Aid service will be provided at the festival venues.  Serious cases will be referred to pre-selected major hospitals.


Internal Transport

The festival Committee will provide transport to all participants from the time of arrival to the day and time of departure.



There will be an information stand at each of the performance venues.



It is our hope that each foreign group or individual will obtain entry visas before they commence their journey.  Those with problems will be assisted by the Festival Committee through Uganda Theatre Network provided they inform the Committee two months before they commence their travel toEthiopia.






EATI-Uganda National Chapter

Makerere University, MDD Department-Flame Tree Close

P.O.Box 35167 Kampala, Uganda, East Africa

Tel (O) +256 414 530 942

Tel (M) +256 752 617 450

                                             Tel (M) +256 776 617450

Email: utneati@yahoo.com OR eati@arts.mak.ac.ug

Website: www.utn.net OR www.eatinst.net