Theatre and Mask: being a Teaching Artist in Liberia, West Africa
In June of 2016, I traveled to Liberia, West Africa to work with students of the non-profit theatre, B4 Youth Theatre (Bridge for Youth) in performance and mask. This training is the only arts education most of these children have ever had, as B4 Youth is one of only 2 existing arts education groups in the country, and B4 is the ONLY one serving underserved youth in rural parts of the country, and the only company doing so without charging tuition.
How does a teaching artist bring western art materials to a country with it's own cultural masks and traditions and share what's useful without implying "correctness" or causing cultural harm? How do you edit a child's monologue if it is written in your language, but uses completely unfamiliar syntax? How do you find common language through performance when there is little to no performance context in that culture?
For nearly three weeks, the students of Mt Barclay and Gbarnga and I worked and played together, learning about our differences and commonalities, forging common vocabularies, and trying to find joy and laughter in every pocket of our lives.
Visit my page for more about my struggles and raptures on this deeply transforming journey.