Hollywood Theatre Maker Shariffa Ali Comes Home

New York-based Kenyan theatre-maker Shariffa Ali wants to import the experience gained abroad to the vastly-growing art industry in the country.

The University of Cape Town graduate says she is eagerly awaiting for her chance to work professionally in Kenya.

Ali has served as the assistant director to award winning American actress Cynthia Nixon in her directorial debut play, Rasheeda Speaking, a piece about racial relations in contemporary USA.

“Kenya has a film and TV industry that is bursting with possibility and immense potential. I believe that more can be done to boost Kenya’s image as a film making destination. My country has a wonderful landscape and well designed cities and a talented young workforce. Action taken in legislature and infrastructure development will make Kenya more attractive to artists abroad,” she told Word Is.

She adds, “I am also encouraged by work that is made by locals for the local market. It’s important that we as Africans tell our own stories and revisit our own histories. As a creative leader I am committed to working with an open heart between performing arts and humanitarianism.”

Ali says that she’s been encouraged by the Kenyan Oscar award winner Lupita Nyong’o, as she has paved the way for the emergence of more African artists.

“I watched Lupita perform in a reading in 2013 and was drawn by her radiant energy. Since then, her career soared in leaps and bounds. I am encouraged by her global appeal and she has paved the way for many more artists from the African continent to emerge. Her success is a victory for all Africans,” she says.