The Book of Life
  • Edinburgh International Festival

Rwandan writer and activist Kiki Katese takes to the stage with her all-female drumming group to share the powerful stories of those affected by the Rwandan genocide, in a performance filled with hope.

In a disharmonious world, The Book of Life finds a humane way forward full of hope.

During the Rwandan genocide in 1994, one million people were killed in 100 days. The unthinkable became commonplace and a country was torn apart.

A quarter of a century later, Rwandan artist and activist Katese asks how it is possible to rebuild a deep understanding of life in the aftermath of such loss. In collaboration with award-winning theatre group Volcano, Canada and her own Woman Cultural Centre, Rwanda, she has crafted an inspirational theatre work exploring resilience, reconciliation and healing.

The Book of Life dwells on life, not loss. It is a contemplation of new families forged in grief, including Ingoma Nshya, the internationally acclaimed Women Drummers of Rwanda, who have shattered the cultural norms that forbade women from taking part in this profoundly joyful art form. They perform on stage against a backdrop of live shadow puppetry, as Katese creates an uplifting show that includes letters from survivors and perpetrators, addressed to those who are gone.

Supported by

Supported by the PLACE Programme

Odile Gakire Katese Co-creator, Writer and Performer

Ross Manson Co-creator and Director

Mutangana Moise Composer

Sean Frey and Kristine White Visual Projection Design

Patrick Lavender and Kaitlin Hickey Production Design

Kristine White Puppeteer

Abigail Whitney Assistant Director

Music performed live by Ingoma Nshya: The Women Drummers of Rwanda

In a new version co-commissioned by Edinburgh International Festival; Volcano, Canada; and the Woman Culture Centre, Rwanda.

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