Monday, December 5

Ebunjan Theatre uses Theatre Arts to bring positive change to lives of children

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By Yunus S Saliu

Giving in-depth information on the human rights situation, particularly on children in The Gambia, after a good twelve months of rigorous training of some selected teachers from twelve different schools on a project called Theatre Arts – An Effective Tool for Human Right Education, the Ebunjan Performing Arts Association Theatre and Troupe now set to present One Act Plays written by the University of The Gambia students.

Among the plays selected for the presentation is A Bright Light Turned Off written by Raki Jallow, a play about early marriage, and another one called Deception by Mariama Sarr which is about female genital mutilation. The two plays, A Bright Light Turned Off are slated for 19th November by 7:00 pm, and Deception is slated for 20th at 5:00 pm and entry is free at the Ebunjan Theatre opposite American International University West Africa, Kanifing.

Both plays are written by the UTG students – Raki Jallow and Mariama Sarr and the actors in these performances are students from Zenith International School, West African International School, Interior Academy, and Banjuliding Upper Secondary Schools.

The Theatre Arts – An Effective Tool for Human Right Education is a project used to train selected twelve teachers who are graduates from the Department of English in the School of Arts and Sciences of the University of The Gambia that is currently teaching at the upper and lower basic schools in the Greater Banjul Area.

The objective of the project is to use theatre; plays; music; dance; poetry – a combination of the arts to educate the public, and the children on the plight of unfortunate Gambian children and “equally important is what can be done to improve the lives of these.”

Commenting on this upcoming informative and educative play, Madam Janet Badjan-Young, artistic director and chairperson of Ebunjan Performing Arts Association, reiterated that the project, Theatre Arts – an effective tool for Human Rights Education in The Gambia is funded by the Netherlands Embassy in Senegal “and the project was used to examine Human Rights issues with the focus on children. And more importantly what can be done to address those issues to bring positive change to the lives of children.”

She stressed that the key participants in the program are the University of The Gambia (UTG) students “selected from Dramatic Literature classes taught by Ms. Grace Chapman, a Lecturer, and Director of UTG’s Theatre in Education Programme.

During the training, Madam Badjan-Young disclosed that several plays were read and analyzed, among them is ‘the Hand of Fate’ based on a true Gambian story about early marriage. Playwriting, directing and theatre production were also part of this project and some plays written by the UTG students are in progress.”

The artistic director applauded the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Emmanuel Joof for providing remarkable support and encouragement to the project, and also Aminata LB Ceesay, investigating officer and focal person for women and children at NHRC for her valuable information. In an extension, she applauded Dr Cherno Barry, former executive secretary at the NHRC who had provided them with in-depth information on the human rights situation, particularly of children in The Gambia.

Dr Cherno Barry detested the unspeakable behavior of adults entrusted with the education of children but rather uncared for them to beg in the streets and some other children begging in streets whilst their mothers sit by and watch and also those “young boys used as apprentices on minibusses, and at building sites,” among others.

Ms Grace Chapman, the instructor of the project urged everyone to come out in their numbers to attend the two-day performances meant to inform and educate everyone, and “it is free entry.”

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