UK & Sierra Leone Artist Exchange
Artists from Hull, England and Freetown, Sierra Leone are collaborating to make new theatre in a project supported by the British Council and Hull Truck Theatre. The project which began in 2017 following Hull’s City of Culture celebrations has seen 6 artists collaborate and exchange culture in both Hull and Freetown. There are three artists from Sierra Leone and three supported artists of Hull Truck Theatre who bring a wealth of experience as theatre-makers, musicians, story-tellers, directors and writers. Amanda Huxtable and Adam Pownall who are Hull Truck Theatre’s Artistic Associate and Producer respectively are helping to develop the artists who are all currently in Freetown rehearsing in the Sierra Leone British Council building during the 75th anniversary of the British Council being in Sierra Leone..
The artists are Sam Caseley, Mamadu Jalloh, Fanta Kamara, Ibrahim Rashid Kamara, Katie Norris and Lizi Perry.
In October 2017 the artists from the UK first went to Sierra Leone with Hull Truck Theatre’s former Associate Director Tom Bellerby to meet their counterparts in a week-long residency and begin the exchange. The Freetown artists then came to the UK in September 2018 to enjoy Hull’s Freedom Festival and continue to develop work together.
The collective, affectionately known as Poda Poda which translates as ‘truck’ from Krio, are due to share the work they have been creating in Sierra Leone on Friday 16th November and then again in Hull in March 2019 during IETM -international network for contemporary performing arts – with inclusion as its main theme this year, which is the final instalment of the project.
Amanda Huxtable, Creative Director says:
I’m delighted to be supporting this special international team. To collaborate with artists creating work that means something to them, to contribute to conversations long overdue and to hear about the lives that inspire their art has been a privilege. It has been a personal and creative ambition of mine for a long time to visit the people of West Africa and Sierra Leone in particular because of our shared history and heritage. To build on our connections using a shared cultural language makes for a hopeful future.
Tony Reilly, Director British Council, Sierra Leone says:
The Hull Truck Theatre / Freetown Poda Poda collaboration represents the very best of what the British Council has been doing in Sierra Leone for the past 75 years. Bringing people together to work in a spirit of trust, mutuality, exploration and shared understanding. When artists come together exciting sparks fly. The Freetown / Hull connections symbolise everything that’s important about Cultural Relations – the core business of the British Council. Long may such cultural exchanges flourish. Our fractured world needs them right now.
Hull Truck Theatre is a pioneering theatre with a unique Northern Voice, locally rooted, global in outlook, inspiring artists, audiences and communities to reach their greatest potential.
We produce and present inspiring theatre that reflects the diversity of a modern Britain. We provide the resources, space and support to grow people and ideas, are an ambassador for our city, a flagship for our region and a welcoming home for our communities.
Through our work with schools and local communities we engage with thousands of young people, disabled groups and adults, offering opportunities to participate in the arts, whether as the first step into a career, a way to build confidence and meet new people, or as part of a rounded education.
We are continuing the momentum of Hull 2017 to tell inspiring stories dug from the heart of our city, alongside tales from the wider world, that reflect the diverse range of communities and creative voices that populate our nation. We are ambitious and bold, committed to our core values of Inclusion, Innovation and Integrity.
Hull Truck Theatre gratefully acknowledges support from Arts Council England and Hull City Council.
About the British Council
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources, we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.
We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. We celebrate 75 years in Sierra Leone this year.
Founded in 1934, we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. The majority of our income is raised delivering a range of projects and contracts in English teaching and examinations, education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. Eighteen per cent of our funding is received from the UK government.
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