Company of giant puppets based in Boromo, Burkina Faso. Les Grandes Personnes d’Afrique was founded in 1998 when Christophe Évette (of Les Grandes Personnes, the company based in Aubervilliers, which specializes in giant figures in France), led a workshop in Burkina Faso that introduced the building of large parade performance figures. The town of Boromo is an area inhabited by Winyé (Ko), Bwa, Nounouma, Mossi and Fulani, with their own very rich traditions. The theatre group, which is a thirty-person collective, includes farmers, metal workers, carpenters, housewives, students, sculptors, puppeteers, sign painters, tailors, weavers, musicians, dancers, actors and others who come together to collaborate on processional theatre. The giant puppets are made on site from local materials: termite mud, recycled cement bags, empty bottles, boiled millet, wickerwork and baskets, gourds, rebar, inner tubes, loincloths and fabric, cotton flower …
The multi-generation group parades its figures that are three to four metres high. During the summer of 1998, Les Grandes Personnes d’Afrique was part of the World Cup “Carnavalcade” of football in Paris. In 2000, the “Boromo” and “Oury” parades travelled throughout the country. The company appeared in 2013 in the Magi to Madrid Festival representing the richness of Burkinabe performance art and culture.
The company’s seminal production was the February 2002-2003 performance of Fleuve (River) for which a whale, a crocodile, an elephant, waves, clouds and other figures were constructed with over two hundred people participating. Since 2003, the company has gained international recognition and has toured in several cities in Europe including Spain and France as well as various African nations. Shows in the 2013 repertoire included Dreams of His Grandfather (which deals with generational issues), Enoch and Poko (a tale of two lovers whose families oppose their union), The Big Family (which presents a family of giant puppets), and other works.
Some of the members since the company’s inception have included: Clément Compaore (b.1978), who sculpts heads; Yacouba Dao (b.1972), a carpenter; Inoussa Tapsoba, called Tapson (b.1972), an artist-painter; Sidiki Noumachi Tihao (b.1970), who sculpts; Mekra Youlou called Binékou (b.1969), who built the first understructures for and with Christophe Évette and is the current president of the association; Yacouba Zongo, called Jeunesse (b.1946) oversees sewing, and Drissa Zongo (b.1966) serves as secretary.
(See Burkina Faso.)
- “Les Grandes Personnes d’Afrique”. http://www.lesgrandespersonnesdafrique.com/. Accessed 27 July 2013.
- “Les Grandes Personnes d’Afrique”. http://www.lesgrandespersonnesdafrique.com/spip.php?rubrique3. Accessed 27 July 2013.
- “Les Grandes Personnes d’Afrique”. http://www.lesgrandespersonnesdafrique.com/spip.php?article7. Accessed 27 July 2013.