By Tabora Bojang
Alliance Francaise de Banjul in partnership with the French Embassy commissioned three international playwrights to write theatre plays in French for young Gambia students under the topic; “Youth Mobility.”
The renowned authors namely professor Irina Vassileva a Bulgarian, Patrick Nzoghe, a Gabonese and Mireille Assiba Gandebagni from Benin took part in a three week artistic residency program at the Alliance to write dramatic texts for the young people.
The authors visited and conducted a variety of language classes and cultural exchanges around their work with students from Glory Baptist International School, French school in Banjul and Nusrat Senior School. The plays will be illustrated, published and distributed to students free of charge.
The program is part of events anticipating the third edition of the “Festival de Theatre Interscolaire ” by the end of this year. The festival gives opportunities to hundreds of students from Gambia and Senegal to perform varieties of plays in local and international contents.
Camille Fourneir, the attache for Cooperation at the French Embassy in Dakar based in Banjul, said; “We are very happy to welcome these authors to Banjul and to work with students and French teachers. This is a project jointly organised by the French embassy in partnership with Alliance Francaise and we are happy it has been a tremendous success. The students have shown their keen interest in French plays and we hope they have been inspired.
The artistic residency program ends Monday October 16th 2023, with about 40 students from across various schools invited to perform theatre plays as well as interact with the authors in insightful question and answer sessions.
World renowned playwright professor Irina Vassileva, who was born in Bulgaria and has been working in France for the past 26 years with extensive experience in higher education, research and coordination of multi-partner programmes, described the artistic residency program as an exciting experience.
“This is my first time in Africa and Gambia is such a nice and peaceful country.I am delighted to do this work because youth mobility is a big topic. What was important for me was the cross-cultural communication and desire to discover the other. When you are curious enough to learn other people’s culture, languages and how they live, you finally get to know yourself better. It is a journey to your inner self. We worked with various schools and I was delighted to have these activities with the students because they are very smart, open-minded, curious and willing to participate in all the activities we proposed. They have a great future and this is so good for The Gambia,” professor Irina remarked
Participant Maimuna Jallow from the Glory Baptist International school who is enthusiastic about foreign languages, said it’s a dream come true for her to be given the opportunity to partake in the program, “I feel so happy and I would like to encourage my friends to be part of it. French is a universal language and it is important for us to learn it because you don’t know where you will be in future.”