Arts + Public Life presents our inaugural Theater Company-in-Residence Fehinty African Theatre Ensemble
Fehinty African Theatre Ensemble, led by Artistic Director Olateju S. Adesida, believes that performance illuminates many trajectories and common humanity. Their mission is to stage creative works from Africa and its diaspora through a process that actively engages African communities, facilitates the development of emerging artists and fosters dialogue and creative exchanges. Fehinty grew out of a community that wanted to tell stories that represented them in a new world. While African plays were not an anomaly in the early 2000s in Chicago, what there was did not reach or connect with the African immigrant community. As much as there are plays/stories that are culturally representative, it is as paramount that African Diasporans also be the tellers of those stories. Fehinty is a platform for the development of emerging African writers, directors, actors, and designers in diaspora and provide space and support for their work.
Arts + Public Life’s new Theater Residency Program is intended to workshop and develop small scale productions and offers two residency tracks at the Green Line Performing Arts Center. Track one is for companies-theatre ensembles and performance collectives and track two (starting in 2020) is designed for directors, individuals with experience and a strong desire for a career in theatre directing. The Theatre Residency will provide incubation space for Fehinty African Theatre Ensemble at the Green Line Performing Arts Center for four months starting this November. During their residency, Fehinity will rehearse, host a free workshop, master class or training program to the public free of charge rooted in their practice, and have a 2-4 week run of Diaspora Monologues towards the end of their residency.
Diaspora Monologues is the company’s annual performance series exploring diaspora as a dynamic concept that intersects varying social worlds, generating tensions and transformations. Each year, the program features monologues broadly conceived as oral history, personal narratives, spoken word, music, dance or movement pieces exploring the Chicago Diaspora space. The 2020 Diaspora Monologues, VA-NA-KU-LA, will explore Pidgin, Creole, Patois, African American vernacular and other language innovations of the African Diaspora. The company is comprised of nine ensemble members including: Olateju Adesida (Artistic Director), Ayo Lasisi (Associate Producer), and Ensemble Members Philister Sidigu, Obi Uwakwe, Matthew Dada, Ekaette Dada, and Elizabeth IIbitoye. Joining the company as Associate Ensemble Members are Maame Addae and Keane Soluade.
Arts + Public Life is beyond excited to support Fehinty African Theatre Ensemble's ongoing creation and development of culturally relevant performance-based art, sharing African stories told by African voices, right here on the South Side of Chicago, in Washington Park, at the Green Line Performing Arts Center.