Why The Birds Sing To Me (Uganda)

Why The Birds Sing To Me

Music composed by Jeffrey Weeks Harrison

While living overseas in Uganda, I began composing for musical theatre for Pantomimes produced by the Kampala Amateur Dramatics Society (KADS). Later on, I moved to Gulu in the north where my wife was working with the United Nations. It was while in Gulu that Katie suggested that we write a musical drama about the civil war in Uganda and its effects on the people. So that is where “Why The Birds Sing To Me” began and was first performed. The show was performed for the Princess of Denmark on her visit to Gulu and later on at Gulu University. Later on the cast and crew went on a road trip to perform the show at the National Theater in Kampala. The production was a great success in large part because of a nice financial gift from the Irish Embassy in Kampala.

Producing this musical drama was quite memorable in many ways. First, it was a great pleasure to work with the cast of young actors. I cannot thank them enough for their commitment to rehearsals and performances, often times for no pay and meagre snacks on rehearsal breaks. As well their genuine, heartfelt performances will not be forgotten. Many of them had never acted or sang in front of a live audience, but they did so in these performances with great passion and courage. I got to know what it was to produce a musical from the ground up. With very little outside financial support, we relied on the blood, sweat and tears of the cast and crew to buoy us through to the end. Second, I have come to a greater understanding about the war and how the people suffered. A couple of our cast members mentioned that they had been abducted and forced to fight as child soldiers.

You will see photos on this page of some of the cast in rehearsals. If you wish to see a demo from the show you may view the video.