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AIDA MBOWA

Kampala, Uganda; Nairobi, Kenya

AIDA MBOWA

Kampala, Uganda; Nairobi, Kenya

Aida Mbowa is a Ugandan multidisciplinary performance artist and scholar who was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. She has been directing, writing for, and acting in theater since 1993. She spent ten years training as a performer with the the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) International, attaining honors at the Gold medal acting level in 2003. She continued her training as a classical actor through the study of Elizabethan and Jacobean Theater in London at the LAMDA conservatory. In 2007, she attained a bachelor of arts in Performance and Identity Studies at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts

Having represented Uganda in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the first Sundance Theater East Africa Director’s Lab in 2012, once again, Aida represented the country at the 2013 Sundance Theater lab in Utah.

Aida has a dual PhD in Drama and Humanities from Stanford University in California, where she was part of a team of three in the Office of the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education that conceptualized and launched Arts Intensive—a three-week arts immersion summer program. At Stanford, she has taught interdisciplinary courses that include, Afro Styles: The Aesthetic of the Cool (co-taught with Performance artist Aleta Hayes); Africa in the African American Imaginary: Black Drama in the U.S from 1950 to the Present; and Critical Media Consumption.

In 2009, Aida traveled with ten Stanford students to Uganda and collaborated with students and practitioners from Makerere University in Kampala. They produced multi-media, multidisciplinary performances at both the Uganda National Theater and at Stanford University. She co-directed that performance project, guest lectured at Makerere University and taught a course at Stanford that explored method, media and message in preparation for the trip.

Her dissertation, “Dialogic Constructions of a New Black Aesthetic: East Africa and African America, 1952-1979,” considers aesthetic work and ideologies born out of a transnational traffic of philosophies and style between the two ethno-geographic regions. The Humanities Center at Stanford University awarded her the Geballe Dissertation Prize fellowship for this work. Aida’s scholarship can be read in critical anthologies, including Taking it to the Bridge: Music as Performance edited by Nicholas Cook and Richard Pettengill (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, May 2013). A second article, “The Art and Politics of Modern

  • Work
    • Theater-maker, lecturer, performer, writer
  • Education
    • Dual PhD in Drama and Humanities, Stanford University