Wade in the Water/Kuomboka - Back to Theatre as Ritual



Animating the Archive

wade in the water/kuomboka

A hybrid ritual by Mukwae Wabei Siyolwe 



Wade in the Water/Kuomboka is an auto-ethnographic experiential, immersive, emotionally connected ritual where the walls of spectatorship are destroyed.  The multi media work was developed during an artist residency at the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre in Pittsburgh and La Cupula Artist Residency in Merida Mexico.  

Set in dreamtime the musical and photographic epic tale in five short acts spans more than one hundred years and opens the archive of Barotseland.   I play the heroine Princess Water guided by my great great Grandfather King Lewanika of Barotseland,  during the ancient flood ceremony Kuomboka (to wade in the water), where I travel to the underworld of emotions to gather humanity to the safety of higher ground from the oncoming flood of ignorance and greed.

Wade in the Water/Kuomboka is at the intersection of art and social change.


The Heinz Endowments is devoted to helping our region prosper as a vibrant center of creativity, learning and social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Core to our work is a vision of a just community where all are included and where everyone who calls southwester Pennsylvania home has a real and meaningful opportunity to thrive. 




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