I view my work as a means of understanding my relationship to God and people on this earth. I do not expect my work to exist only in one medium or format. It is theatre. It is film. It is poetry. It is dance. I want it to be seen, I want it to be held, I want it to be heard.
MY FAIR LADY MUSICAL PRODUCTION
Nothing spells "satisfied" as well as watching a beast of a production like My Fair Lady come together so neatly. When I was first offered the role of Director by Timeless Events & Concepts, I declined. I thought, who am I to direct a musical? A MUSICAL! But, I've learned that sometimes we fear our greatest strength. So, I said yes. I'm a proud director of a cast of 35 talented actors, dancers and singers who have dedicated their time and bodies over the past five month to putting this hilarious drama together. I used to watch this musical as a child and play all the parts and now directing it feels so surreal. It gives me hope that theatre shall return to Kampala in its full glory and not just for theatre-sake but for mental-health-sake and societal-health-sake. It is productions like these that keep us alive, evaluating ourselves and actions. My sincere gratitude goes out to Timeless Events and Concepts for embarking on this project and entrusting me with it.
WHEN YOU BECOME ME
First Feature Film
This feature was commissioned by Light for The World in partnership with Reach a Hand Uganda. I thought I was simply called to help in the ideation process of the movie since I had just completed my short film, Vanilla, that dealt with a similar topic. Little did I know that I would be lead writer. A truly humbling realisation and welcome challenge. My co-writer Ambrose Ngobi was a charm and it quickly became evident that we would work well together. Each character had special meaning for us and it was important that their voices became heard. When You Become Me, the title has two meanings: To put oneself in the shoes of the other and also how while you're point one finger at the other, three are pointing back to you. This movie is about inclusion for persons with disability but for us as writers it spoke to to the larger theme of the need for Africa's inclusion to the rest of the world. Africa, the continent is seen as backward and "disabled" but are we? Hence our lead character was named Africa and she triumped despite all circumstances.
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
Assistant Director Galore
The Merchant of Venice is a famous Shakespearean play that has been performed in several schools over the years. In 1987 at King’s College Budo *Joseph Atukunda* pulled off the role of Shylock in the most memorable way. After that, Joseph started battling mental health issues that motivated his classmates to support him during his journey to recovery over the past few decades. One of Joseph's greatest desires has always been to act Shylock one more time because he always remembered the words from the play in spite of numerous treatments including Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Joseph requested his friend and fellow *old Budonian Justice Hon. Mike Chibita* to support him in this dream someday. Justice Hon. Mike Chibita did not take this request lightly and under his patronage a project to see Joseph’s dream come true was birthed sooner than he’d imagined.
The dream further morphed into the use of performing arts to support the cause for better mental health.
In this phenomenal work I am the assistant director as well as playing the role of Tubal, the Jew.
Small and Fun
When I first read the script for Tsu'pa the complexity of the plot captivated me. I thought, this is real life but would be audiences wish to actually view this. I wasn't sure. Now, that it's out, it reiterates the point that movies are not just created to entertain but also to chastise and confront us.
In this movie I play a small but fun role at the end of delivering shocking news to the lead actress. As always, it was exciting to work with Kennedy Kihire who has shot and helped me develop short scenes on my Youtube Channel. His approach to work is unique and I'm honoured to be part of any of his projects.
After years of editing and rehearsing, a showcase at Lagos Theatre Festival and standing ovation screening at Goethe Zentrum in Kampala, this play has taken up a special place in my heart. Working on it has enabled me to truly appreciate the editing process and not run from it.
Killing Time is a hilarious satirical play about the pursuit of the good life. Told through the vantage point of two villagers plotting to migrate from their village to the capital city in search of better opportunities. It's originally written to be a fun challenge for actors as it is driven by a two-person cast who play multiple characters.
Described as a "Classic" by audience members, I cannot wait to witness this play in theatres and as part of high-school and university literature.
This is a love letter about Uganda, from Uganda, in a truly Ugandan murder mystery (noir) fashion film; following three friends who travel for Independence Day vacation, but an encounter with a beautiful woman ends up in an unexpected investigation.
Set and filmed against the backdrop of fabulous Kampala, the beautiful escarpments and crater lake regions across Uganda, this film is a tribute to Uganda as The Pearl of Africa and I got to play the sophisticated role of Grace.
The highlight of working on this project was the opportunity to work with award winning writer, Angella Emurwon who, as director, created a safe, fun and intellectually deep space for us, the cast to create and get into character.
A 2019 Highlight
Playing the supporting role of Rehema in this feature film came as relief to my daily routine at the time. Little did I know that it is this role that would earn me the award of Best Supporting Actress at Uganda Film Festival the following year.
It was an honor to work with Roja who is a diligent writer and director. He is inspiring to watch as he pursues his dreams in the film industry. This movie has now been selected at the Queen Palm Festival and can be watched on the app, E'ebo World.
Tell Your Story
I’ll never forget Red Hills. One month of preparations, 12 shows, 2 cast members and an incredible crew of 40, Red hills was a lion of a production. Produced by myself and directed by Asiimwe Deborah Kawe, I was privileged to be in the company of some of the leading giants of theatre industry in Uganda. This performance showed me that as Africans we should never shy away from telling our tales in the unique way that we want to. Break the rules and tell your story. Let the audience decide.
HOPE: THE MUSICAL
A Desire to Sing
Sometimes, all you want to do is sing on stage. I had reached that point when auditions for this musical arrived. The role didn’t matter as along as I got to sing. This musical by Rick Bassett came at a time when I believe; Kampala needed some musical relief as far as theatre was concerned. Four nights of Full houses and standing ovations and I was in lala land. I got to be this irritable pregnant village woman who never let her catcalling husband out of sight. Yes, I was a comic relief and I had fun being it. Thank you Kampala Amateur Dramatic Society.
This show earned its fame at the Uganda National theatre box office for being one of the most successful shows of 2018 bringin the "wow" factor. My role was two-fold as producer and actor. It being a political satire on the global fund theft, it attracted lawyers, judges, politicians, pastors and doctors from all walks of life to watch. Written by Joshua Mmali, the Betrothal has now had nine performances over three years, all of which I have performed in thus launching me out as a theatre producer.
The Unseen Story
This is another baby of mine. Vanilla is a short film about a single mom, Miriam, who has dedicated twenty years of her life to taking care of her daughter who has Down-syndrome. It is now her nephews wedding in London and Miriam is the only one who is not travelling to attend it. Confronted by Jessica, her hip, vibrant younger stepsister, Miriam bellows the challenges and stigma of taking care of a child with an intellectual disability and in the same breath declares, “This is my life!” This a story that highlights the difficult decisions that parents, caretakers and guardians constantly face when looking after a child with a mental disorder. This movie is now being shown to mothers of children with disabilities around Kampala region.
Have you ever had an itch that you just gotta scratch? I was scratching my itch when I wrote Black. It is described by some as an "essay like rant on blackness". Inspired by true events, I wrote this 10 minute play and earned my debut as a playwright at Kampala International Theatre Festival in 2016. The audience at the performance was a great international mix that spun the after show discussion in all sorts directions dealing with identity, race, blackness, and the meaning of home which is exactly the kind of conversation I wanted for my work. A great satisfying standing ovation success.
Ladies in the Background
Being part of this major biopic film was an awesome experience. My role of Lieutenant General Proscovia Nalweyiso was such a major role that did not have the chance to be viewed in its entirety. I hope a T.V. Series could be made just for her to show her resilience during the war but also as a way of highlighting strong Ugandan woman who fight in the background. However, this was not my only role in this movie. Off camera, I worked as the assistant to the director which meant that I got to see the shooting of major scenes which was epic. Nine months of bush life, a gun and a busuuti.
Action or Horror
Shooting this film was an exciting challenge. Small cast and one main location. Aaron Zziwa, the director kept all of us on our toes, creating as we went along. As the lead, it was my job to keep the film as intense and intriguing as possible. It was thrilling. Audience members watch this clip wide-eyed and gasp once the reach the end.
Breakout film Role
Usually people come to me after watching the gender based violence in this film that my character went through and they ask, "Did he actually beat you?" and I say, "Yup, he did". And they are silent. That is probably why I won Best Actress for this lead role because at a certain point, I stopped acting. The set, cast and script brought me to a place that removed the need to act. It was real.
This was my first professional theatre role as an actress after college and it came unexpectedly. I auditioned to play a supporting role in this mega casted production lead by Judith Adong. Then suddenly, one week to opening night, a few shifts in cast and crew transpired and I was now playing the lead role of "Mother". This was no ordinary character. I had to learn over 40 pages of lines of an eighty year old woman and embody her woes in the same amount time. I dreamt, thought and became that script. Everyone thought it wouldn't happen but it did and it was remarkable.
Eight months of preparation. An outstanding cast and a performance of standing ovations. This is my baby. Conceived from poetry written since I was ten years old, Yenzé is a Choreopoem written as my final Capstone project for undergraduate studies. It is a letter from my older self to my younger self that says, "well done."
ORGANS, TISSUES & CANDY GAMES
An Unforgettable Experience
This is one of my most memorable performances for two reasons. One, it was my first significant lead role and secondly, I was the opening act with a 45 minute intro that ushered the audience in as I embodied the character of Henrietta Lacks. It brought the “wow” factor with an opening monologue and negro spiritual that was hummed through-out the piece. The reaction from audiences has been incredible, and I received excellent feedback from critics. This play was inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus. Conceived by Zoukak Theatre Company and directed by Maya Zbib.
Contact me if you would like to learn more.
"I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum. I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero"