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2009 Sigana International Storytelling Festival

2009 Sigana International Storytelling Festival:

The Journey is here!

Word has it out there that the Once Upon A Time and the Long long time ago art of verbal Storytelling has been on the decline. It is also being said that currently, a widespread revival has been going on. Storytellers are presenting performances in many places across the world. They are performing to all kinds of audiences in diverse venues restaurants, theatre auditoriums, libraries, school halls, assembly grounds, classrooms, public libraries, squares, festivals, street sidewalks, camps and even company boardrooms.

All this is part of the emergent story of storytelling. It is also happening here in Kenya, the Eastern Africa region and across our mother continent - Africa. We see it more as the flowering of the art of Storytelling in new, non-traditional settings rather than a "revival". Storytelling art has always been actively practiced, albeit in private settings rather than open public fora. Currently, what we are experiencing is the art form increasingly gaining wider public visibility in diverse platforms. We celebrate this and welcome you to join the party!

Ever since mankind opened its mouth to communicate by use of spoken, sung, chanted words and even grunted sounds, Storytelling has been at the core of human communion. We have survived the ills of time, endured the difficulties of our lives, celebrated our triumphs, readied ourselves against all forms of uncertainties and internalized resilience against tribulations through the power of storytelling. Our words have truly reflected Our Lives.

In our stories, we share lives lived, dreams dreamt, worlds imagined and hopes pursued - some captured some lost! We fashion them as myths, legends, fabled adventures as well as anecdotes presented in a world of unhindered possibilities.

Zamaleo Arts and Culture Trust is bringing this spirit home through organizing and hosting the Sigana International Storytelling Festival. It is a journey we have waited long to embark upon and the moment has finally arrived! In this inaugural edition, we are happy to present wonderful performances by seasoned tellers from 3 different continents as represented by Fabula Storytellers (Sweden, Europe), Jamie Oliviero (Canada, North America) and the Eastern Africa team of Adong' Judith (Uganda), Joel Otukho, Susan Wamucii Kung'u and Zamaleo Sigana Storytellers all of Kenya.

Come and take a journey with us to explore the Sigana story world where possibilities abound in all we imagine and do!

Aghan-Odero Agan

Festival Convener



Fabula-StorytellersFABULA STORYTELLING (Sweden, Europe)
Fabula is a company of artists from Sweden, formed 2004 by Mats Rehnman, Peter Hagberg, Kersti Stabi and Ida Junker. They perform all over Scandinavia and international with stories from many cultures. On Sigana they will tell Northern legends, folktales and mythology. As educators they train all from teenagers to professional performers in storytelling. They organize the international "Fabula Storytelling Festival" in Stockholm. They are also involved in organizing the Swedish and the European storytelling movement.

Adong'-Judith-UgandaADONG' JUDITH (Uganda, Eastern Africa)
Adong' is a leading exponent of contemporary Storytelling performance practice in Uganda. She combines her passion for writing and teaching at Makerere University with performing stories for the young as well those still young at heart! Her interest lies more in the sheer power of storytelling as a disarming entertainment that brings together performers and audiences to share moments of sublime joy.

Jamie-Oliviero-CanadaJAMIE OLIVIERO (Canada, North America)
He is a professional Storyteller and teaching artist from Canada with thirty-five years experience, working in various arts-in-education programs, as well as performing and giving workshops. With his long-standing gift of Storytelling, Oliviero seeks to deepen human understanding, heal, inspire compassion and maintain a sense of wonder in the world. In participating in this 1st Sigana International Storytelling Festival he says, "...I feel that I have come to a place in my life where every day is another chance to grow stronger, gain wisdom, and do what I can to ‘give back the gift'.

SusanKung'uSUSAN WAMUCII KUNG'U (Kenya, Eastern Africa)
Susan has been telling stories to children since she was in her teens, which is quite a long time ago now! After many years of practicing the art with children, as a kindergarten and primary teacher, she took it to the Nairobi stage with her first public performance at the Phoenix Theatre in 2001. Since then she has entertained many an audience with her renditions of African folk tales, in schools, at weddings and parties, around camp-fires at night, as well as at several public venues in town. Her performance is driven by the belief that "Stories cross boundaries, touching the heart and drawing people together. A good story, well told, is an enriching experience for both teller and listener."

Wangari-GraceGRACE WANGARE (Zamaleo Sigana Storytellers - Kenya, Eastern Africa)
Wangare is an emergent young Kenyan teller who has been weaned within among the Zamaleo Sigana Storytellers. She has had a solid experience performing for school audiences across the country. In this festival, Wangari is venturing out to stake claim of her space among the experienced.

Joel-OtukhoJOEL KENNEDY OTUKHO (Kenya, Eastern Africa)
Otukho has had it going for over 15 years now. He combines his background as a long time practitioner of participatory educational theatre with his immense love of storytelling. He has a fast growing international experience of storytelling performance among many diverse audiences. Joel relishes telling his self-devised tales often sprinkled with the traditional African settings and allusions.

LUCY WELLAH (Zamaleo Sigana Storytellers - Kenya, Eastern Africa)
She is a long time Zamaleo Sigana Storyteller with strong performance experiences for young audiences in Kenya. Lucy is also a long time theatre actress over the last 10 years. In this festival, she partners with Alumbe Hellen to present a series of performances inspired by Kenyan traditional folklore.

Alumbe-Namai-KenyaALUMBE NAMAI (Kenya, Eastern Africa)
Alumbe is a consummate Storyteller with vast experience in Africa and internationally. She currently stands out as a leading Kenyan female professional storyteller with a solid creative stature over the last 12 years. She performs under Zamaleo Sigana Storytellers Company of Kenya but often travels across the world as a solo professional conducting workshops and performance presentations under special invitations. She is well known within Storytelling circuits in Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Sweden, Canada, India and Israel.

GithandaGithae-KenyaGITHANDA GITHAE (Kenya, Eastern Africa)
Githae is a profiled screen actor for TV and film. He had years of experience as a radio presenter, theatre director and production manager. He is currently a leading drama teacher in an international school in Kenya. He has had 12 years of theatre arts and performance creation and touring across Eastern Africa. With colleagues and Zamaleo ACT, Githanda is at the core of developing professionalism in the practice of Storytelling performance.


2 practitioner seminar-workshops shall go side by side with the performances. The participant- storytellers shall interrogate ideas and understanding surrounding the practice of diverse forms of Storytelling as pedagogy. Their conversations shall also explore possibilities of sustainable cross-cultural collaborative engagement among practitioners. Attendance is by invitation only.

Dr. Mshai Mwangola of Aga Khan University (East Africa) and Dr. Suki Mwendwa (University of Nairobi) shall anchor the conversation sessions.