Janet Badjan-YoungFounder

Janet Badjan-Young…

Chairperson/ Founder: Ebunjan Performing Arts Association

Artistic Director/Founder: Ebunjan Theatre Troupe

 

She has made significant contributions to the development of theatre as an effective means of communication in Kenya (where she lived for twenty years) and The Gambia.

 

A former Director of The United Nations Information Centre in The Caribbean and Nigeria, she returned home upon retirement in 1997. She has since devoted her time towards the development of a truly Gambian Theatre which infuses traditional music, dance and acrobatic movement to enhance presentations based on the rich cultural heritage of her people.

 

She has written and directed plays (published and unpublished) on HIV/AIDS, Women and Children’s Rights, and provided a fresh focus on historical events and folklore in The Gambia. She has published two plays so far (I) The Hand of Fate? - a discourse on early marriage, and (ii) Chains of Inspiration, a UNESCO sponsored work focusing on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

 

She holds a Diploma in Speech & Drama from The Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in the United Kingdom and a Master of Science Degree in Broadcast Administration from Boston University’s School of Public Communications in the USA.

 

A personal journey…

It was a great disappointment to discover, when I retired to The Gambia after almost 38 years abroad, that there was no theatre and hardly any productions to speak of.  I realized that culture, particularly the performing arts, was not considered an important component in the social and national development of the country.

 

Talented youths did not have a nurturing environment or professional facilities to equip them for employment in the Tourism and Education sectors, in particular; nor did they have the opportunity to develop skills which could be used in other sectors, for example, in the mass communication sector.  As the first Gambian to pursue training in Theatre Arts in the fifties, I know and appreciate the fact that the skills I acquired in theatre influenced my career choices. I was able to excel in many fields.   I also felt I was destined to make this contribution to The Gambia.

 

The first step was to secure land from the Government.  With support from The National Centre for Arts and Culture, during the period 2001 -2006, I met two Ministers of Local Government and Lands. 

The former minister of Tourism and Culture, Mrs. Susan Waffa - Ogoo, was very supportive and took the initiative to introduce me to the former Minister of Lands, Mr. Ismael  Sambou. As a former education official, he was keen on involving youths in such a project. Land was finally allocated in 2006 to The Ebunjan Performing Arts Association, an NGO I had formed.


Where we are today?

The first step was to secure land from the Government.  With support from The National Centre for Arts and Culture, during the period 2001 -2006, I met two Ministers of Local Government and Lands. 

The former minister of Tourism and Culture, Mrs. Susan Waffa - Ogoo, was very supportive and took the initiative to introduce me to the former Minister of Lands, Mr. Ismael  Sambou. As a former education official, he was keen on involving youths in such a project. Land was finally allocated in 2006 to The Ebunjan Performing Arts Association, an NGO I had formed.

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Robert, Chef cook