Which is by way of announcing a new project: a theatre production in Addis Ababa. In time, no doubt there will be the usual announcement of a new section, a special home page, maybe even a new banner…. But for the time being this ordinary post will have to serve, as my technical support team is far too heavily engaged elsewhere to be able to devote any time to this.
This does mean my blog will be hosting three separate threads at once – I look back fondly to the time when there was only ever one topic at a time. My project with Zhvan Theatre Company in London continues to run (with a performance, low-key but important, looming); my ongoing project of posting a daily transcription from my diary of our trip forty years ago is just about to resume after an Australian hiatus; and now this as well.
The connection to Ethiopia came once again via my good friend Conor, whom Val and I met in the Lebanon in 2018; it was through a friend of his that I established the link with Gekko School in Lesbos the following year. Since then he has joined the US Diplomatic Service, and was posted to Addis Ababa. He has since moved on, but he was able to connect me with an Ethiopian performer and teacher, with the idea of coming up with a project.
And that process has already begun! My experience in the past is that it is better, wherever possible, physically to meet in order to discuss possibilities, and avoid the sort of tedious confusion that discussing by email, or even over zoom, can lead to. So, despite feeling some guilt over the carbon footprint involved, I flew out to Addis in order to connect with Biniyam, my contact there. It was something of a lightning visit, and could have been even shorter, in that Biniyam and I did not really need all that much time. But we have definitely set the ball rolling – more detail to come – and all being well, I shall be returning in a few weeks, and we will start work.
Except to record an update. This was written some weeks ago, and the project begins in a day or two – I fly out for a month tomorrow night. Which does mean that the overlap of competing blogs will be very short, as I will be suspending the Wembley group for a few weeks.
So, another project begins – wish me luck. As always, who knows how it will turn out, with every possibility between triumph (eg Lesbos) and near disaster (Ioannina.)