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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 3, 2004

UI Hosts Conference Of African Playwrights Sept. 12-19

The University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts will host "Theatre International: Africa," a conference of African playwrights Sept. 12-19 in the UI Theatre Building.

Events open to the public free of charge will be:

-- reading/discussion, 9 a.m.-noon and 1-4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13;

-- reading/discussion, 1-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14;

-- a public forum on "State of the Art: The Contemporary African Theatre Scene" at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15:

-- a public forum on "The Africa-US Connection: Making Exchange Happen" at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17; and

-- reading/discussion 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18.

Participants will include Ugandan musician, actor and writer Sam Okello; Ugandan playwright Deborah Asiimwe; 2004 International Writing Program participant Jean-Marie Rurangwa from Rwanda; U.S. director Roberta Levitow, founder of Theater Without Borders; and the conference's organizer, playwright Eric Ehn, head of the playwriting program at Cal Arts.

Ehn, the founder of the Regional Alternative Theater (RAT) movement, is a former visiting faculty member at the UI, where he created a new production featuring artists from the Dah Theatre in Belgrade and other RAT artists.

In addition to the Department of Theatre Arts, UI sponsors of the conference include International Programs, the International Writing Program and the Year of the Arts and Humanities.

An initiative of UI President David J. Skorton, the Year of the Arts and Humanities aims to raise the profile of the arts and humanities throughout the state of Iowa during the 2004-05 academic year. Projects and events will focus on the discoveries made by artists, writers, scholars and thinkers, and how they can provide meaning for people from every background, bridging differences, creating sustainable economies, and adding to the fabric of life. The Year of  the Arts and Humanities is supported at the UI by the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice-President for Research and the Graduate College.

For additional information, contact the department at 319-335-2700.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,