Tarmac des Auteurs

RD Congo

The festival "les rencontres dramaturgiques de Kinshasa", 1-4 June 2023

"Les rencontres dramaturgiques de Kinshasa" was initiated by Tarmac des auteurs and nurtured by a desire to celebrate authors of plays. In other words, it is a festival of staged readings based on the celebration of playwrights’ words and a commitment to bringing them to life.

For this new season, the festival Director Israël Tshipamba Mouckounay has called on a duo of curators : Aminata Abdoulaye from Niger, trained at INSAS in Brussels, and Tina Mwimba from the Tarmac des auteurs in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the Festival Director, "It was important for the young actors who write the texts to be able to find themselves in role models who resemble them and to believe in their success in the profession."

For several months, lively discussions were held in a Whatsapp group around the authors’ texts to be programmed. Although no theme was imposed on them, some common threads naturally emerged for this programme : women’s rights, children’s rights and a political dimension around good governance and democracy. Israël notes a clear and deliberate desire to prioritise African authors because, in his view, Western authors have other platforms at their disposal for promoting their work and making themselves known, unlike African authors.

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Crédits : Salva

"Les rencontres dramaturgiques de Kinshasa" is a unique festival in the Great Lakes region, as no festival is dedicated to staged readings. The audience turned out every night. The artists in residence for this year’s festival did an honest job of outreach in the Kitambo neighbourhood on the outskirts of Kinshasa, where the Tarmac des auteurs is located. They invited people to come and watch the open rehearsals on certain evenings, creating a sense of curiosity among the audience, who turned out almost every night.

Another aspect of this festival is an educational approach aimed at young trainees at the Tarmac, writers and students from art schools, whether in scenography or drama. They have been supported in their training by the two curators and set designer, Yoris Van Den Houte.

The partnership between the Tarmac des Auteurs and Africalia has resulted in several authors being read at the festival, which the Tarmac des Auteurs also supported in their early days. This goes to show how important it is to continue supporting young people, especially young creative artists in the DRC, who, as Israel points out, make up the vast majority of the country’s population.

When asked what he would like to see in future festival editions, he declares that he would like to see it become even more popular, thanks to broader distribution, particularly on the radio and in the new media.

Interview par Norbert Nzarubara