Shakespeare Returns to Africa

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

The Artistic Director of Shakespeare Link Canada, Kennedy Cathy MacKinnon, often uses this quote and she’s right. Her small group of thoughtful people, however, is steadily growing. This small group is heading back to Africa this summer.

In Quelimane, Mozambique, SLC will partner once again with A Companhia de Canto e Danca Montes Namuli this time to build a bilingual production of A Winter’s Tale. The visit is slated to last three weeks with the eventual goal of touring the show through Canada and the UK.

Coming off the tail end of their second fundraising campaign for the trip through social media, the group is inching closer and closer to meeting its budgetary goals.

What I’d really like to highlight is the effect this group has, not only on the various groups they work with, but on their own members. In a Facebook group formed to assist SLC in obtaining funds to continue their work, there has been an outpouring of support from the community and a number of extremely touching entries shared by members of the group describing their experiences working with the group, memories of Mozambique, and what the group means to them:

“I try to teach my son that one person can make a difference, but the truth is I have often felt the opposite. We live in an age of media and technology that makes it easy to be aware of so much that is happening in the world but I have felt so helpless and overwhelmed, not knowing what I could do or where to start…and then this project came along.” – Jane Spence

“A thought, a remembrance, I fondly recall working on R&J (Romeo and Juliette) with Montes Namuli, and during a particularly hot afternoon I was working with Isabella (Juliette) a founding member of the Montes, she turned to me at one point and indicated that she wanted to see the text (which was translated into Portuguese) ‘No’ she said the real text she meant, and through our part portugese, part gesture, she let me know that she wanted me to share with her the story again, because there was something that she was missing. So that is what we did we began story telling to one another back and forth until we had cleared the barrier, it was one of the things that makes me a better teacher and director – clarity. Once that was accomplished she turned and decided that the line she had been having troubles with needed to be spoken in english and wanted to know how to say it. It didn’t matter to her or to us that very few people in our audience would understand her english they would understand her intention and besides ‘In Shakespeares’ time not everyone would have understood his words, would they?’ she stated ‘I learned that from you Shakespeare Link, so let’s be like that time – we’ll all be children learning together’. It was simple and profound and to the point!” – Edward Daranyi

Photo Credit: Felicity Somerset