“Truth in Translation is more than a remarkable stage production. It is a testament to the human need to reconcile, and an examination of our capacity to do so.”
- TIME MagazineThe Truth in Translation Project seeks to create a non-threatening platform for provoking dialogue. Through theatre, music and film, it is exploring the potential of reversing the revenge and vengeance cycle that increasingly threatens our ability to survive.
The catalyst for this project is a hard edged, award-winning theatrical production (Truth in Translation) that tells the story of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) through the eyes of its young interpreters who translated for both victim and perpetrator after apartheid’s collapse. It was a time when the world expected a bloodbath and instead got a small evolutionary leap that arguably rocked people’s perception of human nature itself. Although the headlines have faded, we believe this moment in time contains a story that must be told and retold for the simple reason that if it happened once, it can happen again.
To date, the production has performed for 55,250 people, facilitated workshops for 10,545 participants and has played in 26 cities, in 11 countries on 3 continents. From Rwanda to Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe to the West Balkans, South Africa to the United States and beyond, this theatre piece has been performing to audiences from very different cultures, who have experienced conflict in very different ways. Every place reveals it’s own story of struggle and it’s own process of healing and coping. Since 2006 (the 10th anniversary of the TRC) when we opened in Kigali, Rwanda, we have been filming the diverse and often conflicting reactions provoked by this controversial production.
As audiences interact in workshops and informal gatherings with the South African company of actors who helped create this piece - often out of their own life stories - another level of translation and interpretation takes place. These interactions are creating a virtual dialogue across borders between people who have never had the opportunity to talk with one another, yet still echo and speak to each other regardless. This reality will be the story of a documentary film.
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