Ethiopian festival to celebrate East African art and culture

Kenyan outfit, Sigana storytelling theatre will join performers from 10 different countries at the inaugural Crossing Boundaries Festival that holds between 24 and 27 September in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The official opening ceremony for the festival will be held at the Ethiopian National Theatre on 24 September as from 5.30PM (GMT+3). Performances from various artists drawn from the world of contemporary dance and theatre will commence at 1:00PM (GMT+3) at various locations in Addis Ababa. 

members of Tobiya Poetic Jazz group. Photo:
members of Tobiya Poetic Jazz group. Photo:

Sigana storytelling theatre that stages African performance elements consisting of dramatic narration, music, dance and movement will enchant the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa with its riveting pieces of art performance.  More than 19 performances, 12 from abroad and the rest by local Ethiopian artists will be staged at the three day festival.

According to Meaza Worku, program director, the festival and conference will include a variety of events such as photograph exhibitions, food art performance, visual art, traditional Ethiopian dance, and poetic Jazz. In addition, there will be presentations and discussion on various topics related to art in the East African region.

At the invitation of the U.S. Embassy, US –based Ananya Dance Theatre will perform at the festival in celebration of 75 years of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Ethiopia, and will present workshops and build relationships with local women’s groups in performance.

Ethiopia’s Tobiya Poetic Jazz group will provide great music for the festival goers. Formed more than ten years ago the group has been staging monthly poetic jazz nights at the Wabi Shebelle hotel for one year on Wednesdays and has started another monthly poetic jazz event at Ras hotel. Their shows are becoming very popular with more than 800 attendants every month.

Crossing Boundaries Festival Ethiopia is part of fifteen festivals held all over the world by Performance Studies International (PSI).

‘Performances won’t just be entertainment but opportunities to think, and explore thoughts of Pan-Africanism,’ Surafel Wondimu a member of the organizing team says of the event.

Azeb Worku the artistic director of the festival says that the event provides cultural practitioners in Ethiopia a chance to develop events that can withstand the test of times. Nebiyu Baye from Addis Ababa University also added that the Festival and conference will provide students of art, theatre and culture related studies from a new perspective and learn about theatrical arts beyond the confines of the classroom. For more information about the festival visit Crossing Boundaries Facebook page. 


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