Our team are passionate about developing exciting new projects to support the creative and arts sector.
Hope Azeda, Creator and Director
Hope was raised as a refugee in Uganda and returned to Rwanda after finishing her theatre studies at Makerere University. She is one of the leading figures in contemporary Rwandan theatre. As the founder and artistic director of Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company, a leading theatre company in Rwanda since 1997, the group collaboratively created Africa’s Hope which was performed in Kigali at the 10th anniversary commemoration of the genocide. The play also premiered at the G8 World Summit in Edinburgh in 2005, toured in the UK in 2006 and 2008, and was also featured in the biennial festival in Sweden in 2008. In 2012 Africa’s Hope made its premier in Los Angeles USA.
To this date, Hope has been involved with 77 productions through Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company. On her own, Hope has been involved with countless other productions through partnerships and workshops acting as director, writer, mentor, and advisor. In 2015 after being tasked with creating a legacy based project, she created the Ubumuntu Arts Festival which brings together many countries from around the world to create and showcase drama for reconciliation.
Ms. Azeda’s work as a writer, performer and teacher has taken her to many theaters and universities around the world, including the Biennial Festival in Stockholm and the Caravan Festival in Copenhagen, the International Festival of the Arts in Sophia-Bulgaria and tours of the USA, Canada, Austria, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Italy Australia, South Africa and Northern Ireland. 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. Ms Azeda is also a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI-ASPEN-Institute). Hope acts as a cultural facilitator throughout Rwanda working to coordinate important events such as the gorilla naming ceremony Kwita Inzina, the Miss Rwanda pageant, and acting as the creative director for the 20th genocide commemoration in 2014.
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, and White Light Africa United. Hope is also currently the curator of Ubumuntu Arts Festival.
Samuel Kyagambidwa, Managing and Finance Director & Itetero Radio Drama
Samuel has worked in several ranks as a playwright, actor, director, stage/radio and TV producer and manager both with Mashirika and Urunana DC as main employers. He studied music, dance and drama at Makerere University. In his position as production manager for Urunana DC he oversees all production activities, ensures that all production standards are met and tackles other day to day challenges. It is under this management position that he gained skills in financial management.
Sam says he enjoys working with Mashirika because of its innovation, dynamic, professionalism, team spirit and freedom to create.
Kabatesi Gashumba Hajirah, Accountant
Lillian Karagwa, Script Writer
Kurtis Dennison, Project Coordinator & Mobile Arts for Peace Research Assistant
Kurtis Dennison is the project coordinator at Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company and a research assistant on the Mobile Arts for Peace Project. Prior to working at Mashirika, Kurtis was a teacher trainer and supporter with the Peace Corps in Rwanda, and a community organizer and mentor with AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps Energy Express in Taylor County, West Virginia, USA. Kurtis holds a BA in Theatre from Fairmont State University and taught theatre classes at the Fairmont State Academy for the Arts in Fairmont, West Virginia, USA.
Kurtis pairs his national and international volunteer service, his experience as an educator and facilitator, and his experiences working in professional theatre to help create education opportunities for students in Rwanda addressing the gap in arts education practices. He led teacher trainings around Rwanda in using drama in the classroom, devising theatre and theatre for behavior change, creating teaching aids, and creative lesson planning. Kurtis facilitated devised productions in Rwanda with students and teachers and co-directed William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet which was performed at the 2017 Ubumuntu Arts Festival.
Simon Iyarwema, Production Coordinator & Youth Outreach Team Educator
Simon has been an actor with Mashirika since 1998 and has been featured in over fifty productions. Simon acts as the production coordinator, and has many roles at Mashirika; with the company, he has toured to Germany, USA, UK, Kenya and other countries.
Innocent Munyeshuri, Youth Outreach Team
Innocent has both a background in theatre education and theatre practice having studied at Kigali Institute of Education and worked actively as an independent artist with Mashirika on over twelve projects. Innocent helps organize the annual Ubumuntu Arts Festival, and is most active with the Itetero Radio Drama.