La MaMa and CultureHub team up with Bold Theatre Kenya to create a special edition of Downtown Variety, an online live performance series that features short acts of dance, music, theater, new media, comedy, A/V performance, and more. Downtown Variety brings La MaMa's 1960s café aesthetic to a virtual platform that links performers and audiences in real time across distance.
Downtown Variety: Kenya Edition will showcase a tapestry of short stories derived from cross-cultural collaborations, followed by a live devised performance that is rooted in vibrant Kenyan traditions but infused with modern culture, global inspiration, and the uniqueness of the human condition as the ensemble deal with their own selves and identities during this tumultuous time.
Curated by Bold Theatre Kenya, artists for this edition include: Steve Gitau, Daisy Onyango, Thuita Christopher, Shirleen Ishenyi, Cindy Nyambura, Calvin Kinyua, Idris Neem, Martina Ayoro, directed by Aroji Otieno.
Powered by LiveLab, a browser-based media-router for collaborative performance by CultureHub.
Aroji Otieno is the founder and Artistic Director of Bold Theatre KE, a cultural and artistic institution that uses art as a tool to promote social justice, focusing on patronage, training, production, and community service. Prior to that, he worked as the Creative & Content Director of FilmAid Kenya, a communication-based humanitarian organization that disseminates life-saving information and offers psychological relief through creative media programs in Refugee Camps within East Africa. Aroji, has participated in various theatre workshops, including, the La MaMa Umbria Director’s Workshop, Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Nairobi Music Theatre Writing Lab, Kampala International Theatre Festival, Crossing Boundaries Theatre Festival in Ethiopia and Kerala Annual Theatre Festival.
Creative Technologist — Sangmin Chae
Lead Technician — DeAndra Anthony
Video Production Coordinator — Jean Garcia
ABOUT CULTUREHUB & LIVE LAB
CultureHub is a global art and technology community that was born out of decades of collaboration between La MaMa and the Seoul Institute of the Arts, Korea’s first contemporary performing arts school. These two pioneering institutions sought to explore how the internet and digital technologies could foster a more sustainable model for international exchange and creativity.
Now in its 10th year, CultureHub has grown into a global network with studios in New York, Los Angeles, Korea, Indonesia, and Italy, providing connected environments for artists to critically examine our evolving relationship to technology. Through residencies, live productions, and educational programming, CultureHub advances the work of artists experimenting with emerging technologies in search of new artistic forms. CultureHub builds new partnerships that expand our network and provide increased access to online and offline platforms that fuel artist mobility, create opportunities for cultural exchange, and broaden human understanding through the convergence of art, technology, and education.
CultureHub is deeply committed to the use of open source and consumer-based technology to make electronic media art accessible to artists and audiences. In the past year, CultureHub collaborated with resident artist Olivia Jack to produce LiveLab, an open source video call software designed specifically for artists, educators, and cultural organizations. The LiveLab toolkit provides a flexible and artful environment for producing multi-location performances, workshops, and cultural exchanges. Built as an alternative to hardware video conferencing systems, LiveLab is customizable, free of cost, and as easy to use as Skype or Google Hangouts.
La MaMa and CultureHub are teaming up to create a Downtown Variety, a weekly online live performance series that will feature short acts of dance, music, theater, new media, comedy, A/V performance, and more. Responding to calls for social isolation, Downtown Variety brings La MaMa's 1960s café aesthetic to a virtual platform that links performers and audiences in real time across distance.