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Almasi Arts Alliance is a nonprofit organization that strives to bring the African dramatic voice to the world by creating and facilitating artistic collaborations between African artists and American artists and artistic institutions. It is our goal to usher into fruition the next generation of African Dramatic Artists, through training, mentorship and access so as to allow the African story to be universally received.

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tagline

Almasi Arts Alliance is a nonprofit organization that strives to bring the African dramatic voice to the world by creating and facilitating artistic collaborations between African artists and American artists and artistic institutions. It is our goal to usher into fruition the next generation of African Dramatic Artists, through training, mentorship and access so as to allow the African story to be universally received.

LEARN MORE

tagline

Almasi Arts Alliance is a nonprofit organization that strives to bring the African dramatic voice to the world by creating and facilitating artistic collaborations between African artists and American artists and artistic institutions. It is our goal to usher into fruition the next generation of African Dramatic Artists, through training, mentorship and access so as to allow the African story to be universally received.

LEARN MORE

tagline

Almasi Arts Alliance is a nonprofit organization that strives to bring the African dramatic voice to the world by creating and facilitating artistic collaborations between African artists and American artists and artistic institutions. It is our goal to usher into fruition the next generation of African Dramatic Artists, through training, mentorship and access so as to allow the African story to be universally received.

LEARN MORE

tagline

Almasi Arts Alliance is a nonprofit organization that strives to bring the African dramatic voice to the world by creating and facilitating artistic collaborations between African artists and American artists and artistic institutions. It is our goal to usher into fruition the next generation of African Dramatic Artists, through training, mentorship and access so as to allow the African story to be universally received.

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ALMASI BLOG

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ALMASI PROJECTS

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ALMASI FELLOWSHIPS

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SPONSOR A DREAM

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FELLOWSHIPS & GRANTS

Almasi Alliance Fellowships and Grants are designed to facilitate the cultural exchange between Dramatic Artists in Zimbabwe and Dramatic Artists in the United States of America. These grants will provide substantial support for the artists and the cultural exchanges allowing the artists to develop both professionally and artistically. By providing opportunities for professional development and by best meeting the artists’ needs, these fellowships and grants aim to give the artist an opportunity to hone their craft, to focus on their art form and to release their unique artistic voice into the larger global community with skill.

TRAINING EXCHANGES

Almasi Arts Alliance facilitates a number of exchanges per year that creates African and American artistic collaboration and gives African artists educational and professional opportunities in their craft. The Artistic Training Exchange is at the core of Almasi’s pillar of collaboration and principle of education. We wish to bring experts in various components of the dramatic arts from the United States to train, mentor and educate our Zimbabwean dramatic artists. Our goal is to professionalize the Zimbabwean dramatic arts sector and bring deeply needed and desired education to talented but untrained Zimbabwean artists.

Directing Venus

Harare, March 21st 2017 | Elizabeth Zaza Muchemwa

It was a privilege to work on the staged reading of Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks. This feeling comes from the realization that the person on whom the play is based is a prominent figure whose life story shaped important discourses on slavery, sexism, cultural appropriation and racism. Venus is Suzan-Lori Parks’ play based on the life of the so-called ‘ Hottentot Venus’. In Europe Saartjie Baartman was, due in part to her relatively enormous posterior, exhibited to paying crowds as a side show freak under the appellation of ‘The Hottentot Venus’. In her death she was dismembered for scientific study, the results of which were used to confirm negative stereotypes Europeans had about Africans. Her skeleton and a plaster cast of her body were displayed in the Musee de L’homme in Paris until 2002 when her remains were returned to South Africa. In keeping with her unconventional style, Suzan-Lori Parks questions and appropriates history by bringing to the forefront the horrors of slavery, racism, commodification and sexism. The play draws parallels between the objectification of victims and the consumers of these products. In its irreverent manner, the play tackles the complexity of intersectionality as affecting the historically disadvantaged position that is occupied by the black female figure. It is the conceptions of racialised notions of beauty, the ideation of identity and belonging, and how they affect our individual pursuit of better livelihood that preoccupied our minds in the rehearsal room.
One question an audience member asked was, “Did Saartjie have a voice?” From that question, I kept thinking, how does a voice shine when that voice is held in a vice-like grip by systems of oppression? What can be done to ensure that these voices are heard? Does it begin when we shine a light on the lives of those that history ignores?
 
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Gideon: My American Journey

Harare, January 29th 2017 | Gideon Jeph Wabvuta

Plays are some of the most underrated forces of change in the world. When you have to read a number of plays a week, this realization kicks in as you are taken from one world to the next, being immersed in different cultures and different voices. I am constantly trying to tap into that which makes a play still speak to me even though it is seemingly distant from me in culture, language, and so many things. Being a playwright at USC, I came into the program with so many fears: are people going to understand my work? Am I going to live up to what I think I can be? Will I be able to handle the workload? I repeatedly asked myself these questions throughout my first semester in USC’s Dramatic Writing program, which I began the summer of 2016. Crazy enough, I decided the first play I was going to write was a historical fiction play set in Zimbabwe in 1978. As soon as I finished outlining it, I panicked, realizing how much I was going to have to explain, how much exposition I was going to have to give. My very first class reading made all my fears disappear as I realized that as long as you create three-dimensional beings with real problems, in real situations, everyone will relate. Yes, you might have to explain some things, but people will get it! Indeed, it is a far cry from Zimbabwe where I know I can put as much Shona as I want in my plays and people will get it, and that was a constant battle. How much of my own language do I put in my plays without confusing people? That is an answer I don’t have yet except I just put it whenever I feel it’s necessary, I just let the story lead me and, in no time, I find myself writing a two-page Shona monologue which always leaves me wondering, “who in the heavens is going to read that!”.
 
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TRAINING EXCHANGES

Almasi Arts Alliance facilitates a number of exchanges per year that creates African and American artistic collaboration and gives African artists educational and professional opportunities in their craft. The Artistic Training Exchange is at the core of Almasi’s pillar of collaboration and principle of education. We wish to bring experts in various components of the dramatic arts from the United States to train, mentor and educate our Zimbabwean dramatic artists. Our goal is to professionalize the Zimbabwean dramatic arts sector and bring deeply needed and desired education to talented but untrained Zimbabwean artists.

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