Hope Azeda

Your history is your shadow, and it will always walk with you.
— Hope Azeda (Artistic Director, Mashirika Theatre, Rwanda)

Hope Azeda is the Founder and Artistic Director of Mashirika Performing Arts, a leading theatre company in Kigali Rwanda. Under her direction, the group collaboratively created Africa's hope, which was performed in Kigali at the 10th anniversary commemoration of the genocide, and also at the G8 World Summit in Edinburgh in 2005. Mashirika performing arts and media company's mission statement is that the arts are not only for entertainment but also a tool for social transformation and a source of employment. Ms. Azeda's work as a writer, performer and teacher has taken her to many theaters and universities around the world. She has also been an artist-in-residence at the Institute for the Arts and Civic Dialogue in Cambridge-Massachusetts, an alumni of Brown University International advanced research institute in 2013, and a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab ,.In addition to her theatre work, she served as a casting director for the films Sometimes in April, Shake Hands with the Devil, Beyond the gates, white light and Africa United. She is currently the President of ARTEJ/ASSITEJ Rwanda (International Association of Theaters for Children and Young People) Vice president of IRIZA CART(The Rwandan association for cineastes Hope Azeda's vision for the arts is to develop a home grown global methodology, create a professional institution to elevate the arts and culture in the region with the aim of blending in the global trend of creative industries based on the values of humanity. Hope is also a graduate of Makerere University, Kampala-Uganda in Music, Dance and Drama, with professional specialization in Theatre Education. Hope Azeda is married to George Katureebe and is a mother of two daughters. Hope is a fellow of the fourth class of the Africa Leadership Initiative in East Africa and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Mashirika Theatre Company

Mashirika's mission is to prove that performing arts is not only entertainment but a tool of social transformation and source of employment. Mashrika uses drama as a tool for social transformation, its productions intended to teach, commemorate and raise awareness of important issues.

Topics of plays have ranged from reconciliation, to sexism and AIDS. Plays are taken to communities in villages and markets, intended to create platforms for civic dialogues to encourage development and reconciliation.

Mashirika has been on the fore front in using theatre for development, using forms like interactive theatre, image theatre, forum theatre.


Productions Include:

Amashiyiga Sehutsitwa Azeda’s first play (1998) about reconciliation, arising out of Azeda’s confusion and questions regarding the 1994 genocide. The play tells the myth of an old man using three stones to cook a meal, inspired by the social makeup of Rwanda. Each stone wants to support the pot alone, meaning that the pot spills. Azeda’s message was that the pot needs all stones.

Africa’s Hope (2004) a play commissioned for the tenth commemoration of the genocide. 100 minutes long to represent the 100 days of the genocide, performed to 25,000 people in Amahoro stadium. It addressed the genocide seen through a child’s eyes and afterwards toured Europe and the US.

Echoes from a Thousand Hills: a solo performance which explores the journey of a mythical Rwandan woman in the course of a hundred years.

Shadows of Memory: 20 minute drama, intended as a communal moment for memory. It re-enacted mass death in which hundreds of actors fell to the ground.

Bridge of Roses (2014): launched at the Kigali Genocide Memorial amphitheatre, in partnership with the Aegis White Rose Society, inspired by the events of the genocide against the Tutsi. It explored the meaning of humanity and what it means to be a human being in times of turbulence, encouraging people to leave behind all social labels and simply empathise as a human being.

A rehearsal of the scene from Hope Azeda's upcoming production Bridge of Roses, The Yellow Floor, Mashirika, Kigali, March 2014.