Come and enjoy the World Premiere of Tyi Wara – a theatrical story-telling production for ages 8+ from 7-8pm.
Discover how the Bambara people of Mali learned about environmentalism and the secrets of the land; how Tyi Wara persuaded everyone to get involved in nurturing the earth and some of the funny and sad trials and tribulations along the way.
In a unique fusion of physical storytelling, contemporary dance and live music, Tyi Wara (pronounced Tee Wara) is the latest production in a long line of award-winning shows by Edinburgh’s premier theatre company of African origin, Toto Tales.
Tyi Wara is a mythical hero of the West African country Mali, who descends to the earth to reveal the secrets of sustaining the land.
After watching the people struggle with droughts, famines and floods, Tyi Wara teaches the importance of sustainable agriculture: how to prepare the land, how to ensure everybody works together and how to make sure the secrets of agriculture are passed on through the generations.
Through the compelling use of live traditional African instruments like the kora, drum and balafon, Toto Tales weaves traditional storytelling with African contemporary styles to create an energetic and vibrant theatrical experience that explores the issues of social collaboration, the importance of work and respect for the earth.
Mara Menzies, founder and performer in ‘Tyi Wara’ says:
“When I formed the company in 2008, it was important to have a theatre company that would bring positive black role models, as well as stories and culture out of Africa to inspire the imagination of our children in Scotland.”
Mara Menzies continues
“We put on lots of shows for children that teased, frightened, involved and laughed with them. But when we saw the delight in the eyes of the grown ups who had brought the children we decided to cater for their appetite and imagination too.”
Mara Menzies laughs:
“The Tyi Wara philosophy is akin to the philosophies of so many communities around the world and the quote which sums it up best is Rudyard Kipling‘s famous quote:
“Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky; and the wolf that shall keep it must prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back; For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
In modern times, Tyi Wara is celebrated every year at harvest time in Mali, where the men compete against each other to determine which one is the ‘hero of work.’ If they are the fastest, strongest, best worker, then they achieve glory until the next harvest when they must compete again.
“This is an important piece because the legend of Tyi Wara inspired sustainable agricultural practices in Africa for 1000s of years. Storytelling in Africa was, and still is, one of the most profound ways to communicate technical knowledge and information in a way that is memorable and informative.”
Press Contact: Mara Menzies on 07828 900 502 or TotoTales@gmail.com or Facebook: or Twitter
Notes to editors
1. Launched in 2008, Toto Tales was nominated as one of The List’s Top 20 ‘Not to be missed Shows’ in and won the first prize Dupliquick Zebra Prize for Best Poster of the Fringe.
2. Toto Tales is Scotland’s premiere professional theatrical storytelling company that specializes in stories from across Africa. We produce engaging, interactive performances that celebrate the rich cultures of Africa and make them accessible, challenging, thought provoking and fun to a variety of audiences across Scotland.
3. Previous shows: Koko The Crocodile, 2008 (4* reviews from The Scotsman, Three Weeks & Broadway Baby), The Legend of Magnificent Moon, 2009 (4* reviews from The List, Broadway Baby and a sell out in Singapore’s ACE Festival), A Most Curious Quest (2009) The Legend of the Bone, 2010, and more 4* reviews for the African/Asian collaboration ‘Under the Baobab Tree’ 2011
4. Mara Menzies is a Kenyan/Scottish storyteller based in Edinburgh. She is Creative Director of Toto Tales and author of ‘Koko the Crocodile’ a unique picture book based on a Kenyan folktale. She has lived and collected stories in France, Kenya, Sudan and Madagascar and has travelled extensively. In 2011, she was nominated for the UK Kenyan Achievers Award. She visits schools in Kenya every year and works particularly with those who rarely get the chance to access the arts.
5. Erick Mauricia taught Modern and Afro Jazz to dancers from The Bolshoi & Moisseiev Traditional Moscow Ballet in Russia. With a Diploma in African Dance from The African Centre of Dance & Music in Paris, Erick has choreographed, produced and performed for many productions and festivals involving modern and traditional dance, drumming, singing and stage plays. Erick has also trained for 20 years in Yoga, Martial Arts and Tai Chi techniques and has practiced Meditation for some years. He is currently a member of the Glasgow Gospel Choir.
6. Gameli Tordzro is one of Ghana’s leading creative arts exponents in Scotland, working as the Artistic Director of Pan African Arts Scotland, Scotland’s leading voluntary sector African Arts Company, which has groomed the likes of Emeli Sande. He has worked in KNUST Centre for Cultural Studies, The University of Ghana School of Performing Arts, and TV3 Network as a producer. Gameli is currently directing a series of life stories documentaries highlighting the work of Africans and people of African origins in Scotland with a focus on their contributions to the Scottish Society. His work is across a range of art forms including Theatre, Music, Storytelling, Filmmaking and Fashion. Gameli plays the traditional Ghanaian Gyle xylophone, the Attenteben flute, the Kora and various drums.
7. Supported by the kind generosity of Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace, a festival that seeks to provide educational opportunities and an international forum for understanding, experiencing, and participating in the rich diversity of the world’s spiritual traditions.
8. Also supported by The Scottish StoryTelling Centre that hosts regular storytelling events, seasonally-themed activities and inspiring one-off performances. The 2012 programme aims to promote storytelling as a vibrant contemporary artform and to provide opportunities for everyone to celebrate Scotland’s rich storytelling heritage.
9. Photos available.
Are you coming?
Event: Tyi Wara
Venue: Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR
Tel: 0131 556 9579