Patrice Naiambana Q&A - MA in Theatre for Community and Education

Patrice Naiambana is an award winning African-Performing Artist/Animateur Sierra Leonean-Bermudan who has lived and schooled in the UK, France, Barbados and Sierra Leone. Patrice is a Senior Lecturer on Mountview’s MA in Theatre for Community and Education.

“The cultural space is where sustainable change occurs”

Why is this MA important right now?

We live in post-truth, fake news society which have always been post-colonially illiterate. Story-makers, tellers and players have a hugely significant part to play in collaborating with citizens to listen compassionately to our similarities and differences. The cultural space is where sustainable change occurs. And there lies in the non-exclusive space tremendous potential, generosity of spirit, and cause for hope. If you would like to make constructive contributions to human flourishing through the arts, this is the course for you.

Tell us a bit about your journey and career in the performing arts

I embarked on a vocation as an artist after realising that there were so many silences and silenced in the swathe of human history, and that stories and effective communication were a profound route to living a more ethical life. I was twenty one. Having lived in several countries, I was struck by the scope and damage of needless inequalities. I purposed to follow a path of Change Making through the arts. Unable to afford drama school tuition fees, I composed a personal syllabus around my weaknesses. That programme of personal learning took me to Street Theatre, T.I.E (Theatre in Education), Community Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Globe, The National, TV, film and radio. Simultaneously I looked for ways to transfer that experience into conceptualising performance for diverse environments. However, as time went on, I noticed that the framework of training and aesthetics was driven by a Eurocentric lens and an “art for art’s sake” paradigm. I then made forays from the mainstream arena in order to widen my experience, which had initially commenced in Sierra Leone. The art for life’s ethos I encountered on my worldwide travels continue to serve as a guide for my work. I am grateful to the many world class artists who permitted me to learn and apprentice in their projects.

“If you want to make constructive contributions to human progress through the arts, this is the course for you.”

Are you working on a particular project right now?

I am in the process of creating Multi-Disciplinary Story Labs that encourage fresh ways of thinking and talking about difference. I utilise an interactive creativity strategy I devised called Hothausing, where citizens are encouraged to step into the Circle of Shared History and engage with inspirational global-local narratives around social justice.

What kinds of things will you be teaching on Mountview’s MA in Theatre for Community and Education?

I will be introducing Creating Performance approaches through an interdisciplinary intercultural prism. As stimuli for personal practice I shall introduce elements of African Theatre, Diaspora Performance and the Raison D’Etre of The Griot. These include storytelling, ensemble making, musical improvisation, movement literacy and culturepreneurship. I shall also introduce The Decolonial Option as a way of analysing the world we live in.

Read more about Mountview’s MA in Theatre for Community and Education.