Happy New Year – We celebrate 2017 in style . We bring to you one global theatre icon Obehi Janice . She visited Zimbabwe and Uganda in November 2016.In the month of goat,the sacred month. She testifies that she a great artistic experience in these two creatively endowed countries in Southern and Eastern Africa. Such artistic relations and cultural exchanges are the way to go for a progressive creative world. Hands Up to International Theatre Institute Zimbabwe and Savanna Trust in Zimbabwe as well as the Fox Fellowship Foundation. Together we shape the artistic world.
1a. How is your travelling to Africa inspires you and how do you think
you have impacted the lives of other young women during your tour in
I was extremely humbled to meet young actors in Zimbabwe and to have frank conversations about the challenges and triumphs we all face in the industry. In Kampala, Uganda, I had the opportunity to teach solo performance and storytelling and to direct a staged reading of a new play. These two opportunities allowed me to learn by sharing and teaching. I believe that art should transform, and I’m glad that the interactions I had with young female artists brought new insight on how to pursue this work with boldness and bravery.
In both countries, I was able to work closely with female artists on talking about the power of voice in creating our own work. What inspires you? How does your identity provide a foundation for your creative platform? What are the challenges you face and how can education, mentorship and collaboration solve them?
I was blessed with a travel grant from the Fox Foundation Fellowship, which is administered by Theatre Communications Group, an arts organization based in New York City. Part of the grant allowed me to be a Resident Actor at Company One Theatre from 2016-2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. I also knew that building artistic relationships abroad would help me grow as a Black female creator.
1b. What do you think African female artists have to improve on,
especially those in Uganda and Zimbabwe?
I think Uganda and Zim need more grants for artists. Period. Value creativity. Change the world.Female artists can always improve worldwide. I want all of my fellow lady artists to not be afraid to take on many roles. For example, if you’re an actress, push yourself to direct a play! You will grow. I already saw this modeled by the extremely powerful performance of Tropical Fish at the Kampala International Theatre Festival. It was beautifully and masterfully acted and directed by Rehema Nanfuka. (http://kampalainternationaltheatrefestival.com/tropical-fish-uganda/)
1c. What is your greatest life, artistic, academic and creative
Life: graduating college (first in my family). Artistic: writing my solo play, FUFU & OREOS. Academic: getting into Georgetown University. Creative: becoming a voiceover artist.
2. What roles are you playing in transforming your communities?
Being a mentor to young Black female artists, definitely. Essentially, being the source of wisdom and clarity that I needed when I was younger.
- What are your future prospects in your career and your life?
Never stop learning, ever. Grow as an actress for the stage and screen. Build opportunities as a producer and writer for myself and the Black female artists that inspire me. (Oh! And buy my Mom a house.)
4. What is your parting shot to fellow women and girls?
Find your tribe!
OBEHI JANICE is an award-winning actress, writer and comedian. A graduate of Georgetown University, Obehi was named “Boston’s Best Actress” by The Improper Bostonian in 2014. Her comedic short, BLACK GIRL YOGA, won the Reel 13/AfroPunk Film Competition (WNET/New York Public Media). A leader in the millennial renaissance of socio-political arts and culture, Obehi works extensively on stage, screen and as a voice actress in video games, radio, and commercials. Recent stage credits include Love’s Labour’s Lost, We’re Gonna Die, An Octoroon, Mr g and her solo show FUFU & OREOS. As a comedian and storyteller, she has been featured on You’re the Expert, Story Collider and The Moth. Her potent writing has been featured in Kinfolks: a journal of Black expression. Obehi also works as a director and producer. A gifted public speaker, she enjoys sharing her thoughts on faith, identity, creativity and mental health. She has garnered esteem and recognition from Bustle, WBUR, DigBoston, For Harriet, and The Boston Globe. She is the TCG Fox Foundation Resident Actor at Company One Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts. Upcoming: The Gift Horse at New Repertory Theatre.
This special New year journal was coordinated and edited by the Founder of the blog journal, http://www.personalitiesofinspiration.wordpress.com Mbizo Chirasha who is leading a number of Creative /Literary/Artistic /Community Projects in Zimbabwe and abroad. Send your comments and views to the blog.You can write us to firstname.lastname@example.org,follow and dialogue through our facebook group- InspiringPersonalities.