LUCAS member Jane Plastow, Professor of African Theatre at the University of Leeds, recently published a book: A History of East African Theatre Volume 2 (Transnational Theatre Histories book series: Palgrave MacMillan, 2021). Please read the Q&A that Jane did with the Leeds African Studies Bulletin earlier this year, about the two-volume book project.
This second volume of A History of East African Theatre focuses on central East Africa; on Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The first chapter is concerned with francophone theatres, comparatively studying work coming out of Burundi and Rwanda alongside a focus on French language theatre in Djibouti. The chapter is particularly concerned to explore how French and Belgian cultural policies impacted theatre during the colonial period and how the French ideas of Francafrique and promotion of elite, French language art have continued to resonate in the post-colonial present. Chapters Two and Three look comparatively at the rich theatre histories of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and are divided between a study of British East African colonial impact and an analysis of the post-colonial period illustrating how divergent political thought and societal make-up led to exponential differentiation in national theatres. The final chapter, on Theatre for Development and related social action theatre, covers the whole East African region, offering the first ever historicised analysis of this mode of theatre making which, since the 1980s, has come to dominate funding and opportunity in performance arts.