Construire des Histoires (trans. Shaping Stories) playwriting laboratory workshop was held at the Cradle of Creativity from 23rd to 27th May 2017 and welcomed Francophone Theatre Practitioners from 9 different African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Guinea, Madagascar, Réunion, Senegal, and Togo. The group met for 4 hours each day to explore approaches to playwriting and to exchange their own practices, ideas and thoughts on creating Theatre for Young Audiences in French.
One of the workshop activities, for example, made use of collective playwriting. With each individual having written an individual text the day before, participants were split up into groups of 4 or 5, and each group was tasked with combining their individual work into one cohesive short stage play suitable for Young Audiences. The groups were given the flexibility to decide how they would approach this challenge, and they were also given the artistic freedom to include any additional elements into their play that were not originally included in the individual texts. This activity ran for the full 4-hour session and, at the end, each group read their work aloud to the rest of the participants.
This laboratory opened up an opportunity for the Francophone Practitioners to learn new skills that they could bring back to their respective companies/organisations and enabled them to extend their networks of professionals working on similar projects. In the end, the participants seemed to have created close bonds with one another, stating their commitment to utilising each other’s expertise for future international collaborative projects.