Hope Azeda, a leading figure in contemporary Rwandan theater, performs and directs at Dartmouth on March 3. (photo by Kawakahi Amina ’09)
Hope Azeda, a leading figure in contemporary Rwandan theater, will present her solo performance Echoes from a Thousand Hills on Thursday, March 3, in the Hopkins Center’s Bentley Theater at 4:30 p.m. Her show will be followed by a collaborative work by students in the course “Topics in African Theater and Performance.” Laura Edmondson, associate professor of theater, invited Azeda to visit Dartmouth as part of Voices: The Dartmouth Theater Visiting Artist Program. Edmondson also asked Azeda to direct her students in the development of an original piece. Azeda’s guiding question for the students was: “If the world was your stage for five minutes, what would you want to say?”
“The material the students brought to the table is amazing, and we’re working to combine it to take the form of a performance,” says Azeda. “Everyone is different. The whole performance is focused around this fact: how we are different but the same.”
Azeda is the founder, artistic director, and choreographer of Mashirika Creative and Performing Arts, one of the major theater companies in Rwanda. She currently serves as the President of ARTEJ/ASSITEJ Rwanda (International Association of Theaters for Children and Young People). Her solo performance explores the journey of a mythical Rwandan woman in the course of a hundred years.
“I love theater because, for me, theater is life; it creates a world that I never see,” says Azeda. “There’s a world that I’ve been denied in my life, things I have never been able to speak, but now, when I’m doing theater, I have that space that I would not get anywhere else. I see theater as a tool, as a weapon, to defend life.”
Azeda’s performance is free and open to the public. More information about the event is available online.