Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Our Lady of Kibeho @ Theatre Royal Stratford (25 Sept-2 Nov) Our Lady of Kibeho @ Theatre Royal Stratford (25 Sept-2 Nov)
Our Lady of Kibeho @ Theatre Royal Stratford (25 Sept-2 Nov)

In 1981 at Kibeho College in Rwanda, a young girl claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary who warned her of the unimaginable: Rwanda becoming hell on Earth. She was ignored by her friends and scolded by her school but then another student saw the vision, and another, and the impossible appeared to be true.


On the night of 6 April 1994 a plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana, and his counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi – both Hutus – was shot down, killing everyone on board.  Hutu extremists blamed the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and immediately started a well-organised campaign of slaughter.


In just 100 days in 1994, about 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda by ethnic Hutu extremists. They were targeting members of the minority Tutsi community, as well as their political opponents, irrespective of their ethnic origin.


Giving a haunting insight into the extraordinary true events that captured the world’s attention, this vibrantly theatrical meditation on faith, doubt and miracles was hailed as ‘the most important play of the year’ by The Wall Street Journal when it premiered in New York in 2014. OUR LADY OF KIBEHO is the latest work from Olivier Award-winning writer Katori Hall, whose previous plays include Tina: The Tina Turner Musical and The Mountaintop.


Marking 25 years since the Rwandan genocide, this striking drama now has its London premiere at Stratford East in a remount of James Dacre’s critically-acclaimed production. Dacre is Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate, Northampton and premiered Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop (Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2010).


James Dacre said: “Whether the visions that they described were real or not, the true stories of what happened in 1981 to these schoolchildren highlighted the daily injustices that they saw around  them. Theirs was a protest against the moral, social and political decay of their community – a reminder that sometimes young people can sense tragedy ahead in a way that adults are incapable of.”


He continues: “In turbulent times when the voices of young people are so often ignored, Katori and I hope that the London premiere of this extraordinary play will spark a conversation on ways to heal our own political, racial and religious divides.”


25 Sept-2 Nov, Our Lady of Kibeho, Theatre Royal Stratford,  E15 1BN, Tickets and details: https://www.stratfordeast.com/whats-on/all-shows/our-lady-of-kibeho


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