The Community Youth Cultural Centre, an implementing agency under the National Commission on Culture was recently invited to the 18th edition of Festival Internationale du Theatre Marionettes Ouagadougou / Festival au Burkina (FITMO/FAB) by the kind courtesy of the organizers led by Dr Hamadou Mande. The festival was scheduled to span from 25th October to 31st October, 2021. A cross section of excellent creative expressions was billed up for an enthusiastic audience as the schedule attached shows.
CYCC as the only outfit under the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the National Commission on Culture that has a puppetry department which have been used for the advocacy campaigned to get the Ghanaian public to adhere to the covid-19 protocols funded by the National Covid Trust Fund and some NGOs. The invitation was honoured by the Centre and sent three staffers, the director of CYCC, Akosua Abdallah, Dr, Mr Prince Nicholas Haligah senior puppetry master and manipulator and Mr Elijah Vanderpuye Cunnison assistant, who worked under the puppetry department of the Centre to attend the festival and workshop to experience first hand the other forms of creating and transmitting puppetry to all range of audience.
The two staffers were warmly welcomed on Monday evening in Burkina Faso by the host after a drilling road trip from Accra on Sunday evening. A grand opening ceremony was held at the Espace Gambidi, a creative space built by Dr Jean Pierre Guigane a great writer, now managed by the son with some funding from willing donors. The opening had the key organizers welcoming all participants, performers and imploring them to lit up the festival with amazing performances and exciting ideas that will grow the performing arts industry in the sub-region of West Africa. Post the addresses, the night was indeed lit up with amazing performances of folk music, folklore and drama.
The subsequent days followed the same format with a series of workshops on the stated themes of “Art Against Violence” and “Puppetry Transmissions”. The two staffers from the Centre engaged in all the workshops where possible because they were all happening simultaneously. They focused largely on their expertise of puppetry and engaged in acquiring more insights on miniature puppetry creations and manipulations and other forms of transmitting puppetry with the aid of multimedia, a really fascinating concept.
The Director of CYCC Akosua Abdallah, Dr presented on the themes as the special guest of honour, from Ghana. She was engaged with mostly meetings and deliberations on the themes and further expansion of the festival and other incubating innovative initiatives that will grow the performing and creative arts spaces in the sub-region.
It was a really eventful festival which was climaxed well with amazing performances on 31st October,2021. Inspiring connections between artists, participants and other stakeholders in the creative and performances industry in the sub-region especially notably between Ghana and other French speaking countries were made that will be a mutually beneficial relationship if explored to it fullest by both parties. The mutual similarities in our crafts and arts as Africans must be harnessed well to feed the next generation with narratives that unites the continent against various mediums that propagate violence and conflicts. These narratives must encapsulate the African cultural identity that young Africans residing in the various countries on the continent and over the shores of the continent will be excited to be associated with.