Circus Zambia, Ingoma Nshya Partnership
We have had the pleasure of building new relationships with two incredible companies from different regions of Africa. Circus Zambia, led by their Artistic Director Gift Chansa, and Ingoma Nshya, a drumming group from Rwanda led by Odile Gakire Katese.
Circus Zambia are a youthful and vibrant social circus company that equips young people from vulnerable backgrounds in and around the township of Lusaka with circus and life skills, while providing educational and employment opportunities.
Ingoma Nshya is the first ever female drumming group in Rwanda. Their work pairs the development of the Rwandan woman they work with to the development of the traditional drumming culture, while striving to correct the persisting gender imbalance.
We first met while attending ISPA Congress in New York with the British Council. Although all three companies work in different ways, we have been overwhelmed with the passion, ingenuity and talent of both Circus Zambia and Ingoma Nshya.
Since then, and with the support of the Moondance Foundation, we arranged a residency to bring Circus Zambia’s touring company and Odile Gakire Katese of Ingoma Nshya to our training space in Cardiff for a skills exchange. Allowing us to share learning around circus curriculum development, exchange ideas on challenging gender imbalance, and engage with different styles of working.
Building on the learning from this first residency, we have been successful in securing support from the British Council to develop an exciting international performance project; Drum Up a Circus.
Drum Up A Circus
This collaborative creation aimed to challenge the gendered roles prescribed by society. Fusing Zambian and European circus styles together with a female led development of traditional Rwandan drumming, the project celebrates the unique strengths of the partners. Together the partners worked to create a piece of digital art that can not only cross audience boundaries but also change their assumptions of the performers and the art forms.
Its first R&D visit, supported by Wales Arts International, took place in January 2020. The project evolved in response to the restrictions on international travel due to the ongoing pandemic, moving from the creation of a live performance to become a digital collaboration.
The cocreated film will premier across all three countries in May 2021.