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PEN World Voices: International Play Festival 2015: Sitawa Namwalie – Black Maria on Koinange Street

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May 11, 2015
May 11, 2015
Segal Theatre

Photo by Gaia Squarci

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center presents World Voices: International Play Festival 2015. As part of the 2015 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, the Segal Center will showcase play readings by nine of the world’s most respected dramatists representing Afghanistan, Argentina, Cuba, France, Germany, Indonesia, Kenya, and Uganda.

The International Play Festival generates conversations on art, politics, dreams, war, and philosophy, and is meant to give American audiences a rich awareness of the greater global dialogue.

Monday, May 11

FREE + Open to public. First come, first served.

Black Maria on Koinange Street
Written by Sitawa Namwalie (Kenya)
Directed by Saheem Ali
5:00pm | Segal Theatre

A young African woman from a privileged upper middle-class family comes of age learning how to survive in an African country at the time of the dictatorships of the 1980s. She has to navigate life away from the safety of her family and learn how to survive. An encounter with the police and other night creatures exposes the underbelly of her charmed existence when she discovers the harshness and precariousness of life on the city streets of Nairobi at night.


SitawaSitawa Namwalie is a poet, writer and performer. In 2008, her first dramatized poetry performance, Cut Off My Tongue, was successfully performed in various venues in Nairobi. In 2009, her first book of poetry, Cut Off My Tongue, was published. In 2010, Cut Off My Tongue was selected by the Sundance Theatre Lab for its first East African Sundance Lab, held on Manda Island. In April 2012, Cut Off My Tongue was selected by TED Talks in their global search for new and undiscovered performances. In April 2014, Sitawa participated in the SPOKEN WORLDS project, between poets, hip hop and spoken word artists from Kenya and Berlin, Germany. Sitawa has worked in the development sector for many years with NGOs and with UNDP, USAID and IUCN. She currently works as a development consultant in East Africa, focusing on environment, gender and governance.


The 11th Annual PEN World Voices of International Literature, “On Africa,” New York City, May 4-10, 2015. More than 100 Writers from 30 countries celebrate the transformative power of the written word. This year’s program, co-curated by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, takes you beyond the news by providing a rare chance to hear voices and perspectives from contemporary Africa and its diaspora. www.penworldvoices.org


The PEN World Voices: International Play Festival was conceived, created, and curated by Frank Hentschker in 2005.
2015 Festival produced by Christine Scarfuto (New York) in collaboration with Frank Hentschker.


*If you are interested in helping with PEN World Voices, please contact Yu Chien Liu at yliu6@gc.cuny.edu.