Another Africa

The Story

Just who do they think they are?
Just who do we think they are?
Just who do we think we are?

Another Africa is an international theatrical endeavour examining the relationship between Africa and the West from disparate points of view. Its world premiere was in Toronto in June 2010, at the Luminato International Festival of Arts and Creativity.

Our core creative team of writers, directors, designers and performers comes from 3 regions: Africa, Europe, and North America, and includes team members from Canada, Germany, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, Poland, South Africa, the USA, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The majority of these artists now live in Toronto.

The current relationship between Africa and West is dominated by incomplete stories, hidden truths, hidden agendas, over-simplification. The predominant clichés of lions, elephants, disease, corruption and war are collectively defined in theoretical circles as Afro-pessimism, and they have pounded the reality of an entire continent of 54 countries and hundreds of languages into a single story of disaster. This project asks the question: what is really going on? Our task is to explore the human reality of a global relationship from a variety of viewpoints.


by Deborah Asiimwe (Uganda)
directed by Weyni Mengesha (Canada)

Ugandan writer Deborah Asiimwe crafts a brief welcome to audiences from the entire acting company – an elegant common ground from which to depart…

by Binyavanga Wainaina (Kenya)
directed by Ross Manson (Canada)

Shine Your Eye, by Binyavanga Wainaina (winner of the Caine prize for African Literature): We begin with a play set in Lagos, Nigeria, and a group of all-black characters. Shine Your Eye is a high-tech show that brings a virtual world onstage with animation and projection. The play explores the notion of territory – and what possible territory might exist for a new generation of Africans, now in their twenties. The main character, a young computer hacker in Lagos, is forced to choose between two possible futures: one Western, one African. In so doing, she is forced to look forward, into her own future, and to make a choice about where she will go, and what boundaries she may have to transgress to get there. “Shine Your Eye” is a Nigerian expression, meaning “wake up, look at what’s really happening.”

by Roland Schimmelpfennig (Germany)
directed by Liesl Tommy (South Africa / USA)

Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God, by Roland Schimmelpfennig (the most produced contemporary playwright in the German language): We move then to an unnamed Western city, with an all-white group of medical professionals talking about Africa at a dinner party. Two went to work in a crisis zone in an unnamed African country for six years. Two stayed at home in their unnamed Western city, made a lot of money, and had a child. Each couple envies the other. Their reunion is a disaster. In this play, the obsession is with the past – the decisions made, the mistakes that followed. It is harrowing, and bitterly funny – a sort of post-colonial Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

The Team

Written by | Roland Schimmelpfennig, Binyavanga Wainaina, with an introduction by Deborah Asiimwe
Directed by | Ross Manson, Weyni Mengesha, Liesl Tommy
Choreography by | Teddy Masuku, Heidi Strauss
Lighting Design by | Bonnie Beecher
Set Design by | Teresa Przybylski
Sound Design by | Thomas Ryder Payne
Costume Design by | Milan Shahani
Video by | fettFilm (Momme Hinrichs & Torge Møller)
Animation by | Marcus Moore, based on artwork by Wangechi Mutu
Starring | Tom Barnett, Milton Barnes, Maev Beaty, Lucky Onyekachi Ejim, Araya Mengesha, Tony Nappo, Muoi Nene, Ordena, Kristen Thompson, Dienye Waboso



An earlier version of this show premiered as The Africa Trilogy in 2010.

2011: Another Africa Premiere