Odak Onyango: "Theatre makes people more assertive"

December 2007 -

Make love, make sense is the name of the performance with which the Kenyan dance and theatre group K-PAG (Kenya Performing Arts Group) is touring Africa and Europe. Artistic leader Odak Onyango (Rapogi, West Kenya, 1977) came to Europe in the 1990s to study theatre studies and political science in the Netherlands and Germany. He subsequently returned to his mother country.


Scene from Make Love, make Sense

"That was a natural step for me. My stay in Europe was one long learning process. I learned a lot socially, culturally and politically. But the most important may be that I was able to look at my own culture as an outsider. I wanted to share that with the people back home. There are no theatre training programmes in my country, so every little bit I do is something."

In 2003 Onyango founded K-PAG together with the Dutch dancer Saskia Ottenhof. They strive to involve youth from every part of society – from children in the slums and orphans to university students – in their workshops and performances. Successfully. Onyango: "I believe that theatre is the most important tool for making people more assertive and for nurturing mutual understanding. When I see the development of the members of K-PAG in the past three years, you know what art can achieve."

In Make love, make sense, Onyango and his group attempt to make the audience aware of the risks of hiv contamination. "But the message is not the most important. Art itself has our central focus, but when a subject comes along that moves us, we cannot ignore it."

K-PAG performs 4 and 5 December 2007 in Brussels, 9 December 2007 in Amsterdam and 13 December 2007 in Hilversum.

K-PAG is supported by the Prince Claus Fund, DOEN Foundation and HHumanlink (a cooperative of Hivos and Humanitas).