USITT Ships Books to African Theatre Association

June 8, 2022

USITT continues to send Theatre textbooks to 11 participating Universities in Africa that are members of the African Theatre Association (AfTA).

AfTA and USITT began to partner just prior to the pandemic. Several USITT members had been commenting to Executive Director David Grindle that they needed to divest their personal libraries as they retired. A few of these members shipped boxes of books on design and technology to the National Office during the pandemic.

Many of the universities in Nigeria have theatre training programs, but often don’t have the funding to add books to their university libraries that speak to theatre design and technology. The Institute repackaged the donated books after including a book plate in each stating that the book was courtesy of a partnership between AfTA and USITT. Eleven boxes containing almost 200 books were shipped to Professor Charles Nwadigwe, Vice-President of AfTA, in Nigeria.

Our goal is to exchange speakers and articles so that we can learn from one another. The Book Project comes from the fact that many universities have extremely limited funds for libraries and those funds are often not spent on the arts. USITT members often have an excess of books that can be used in these libraries. AfTA members submit a request to their leadership, those are vetted, and a list given to USITT. USITT members can ship books to the office in New York and those books are distributed among the libraries with shipping supported by the Samuel Scripps International Fund. USITT continued to collect books to send to AfTA at USITT22 in Baltimore.

The next shipment of books will go out just prior to David Grindle’s departure. Professor Nwadigwe is working to share the books amongst multiple universities over the coming weeks.

This project was made possible through the generosity of USITT members and the financial support of the Samuel Scripps International Fund that covered the shipping costs.