Creative Entrepreneurship 2012 Class Profiles: Ellis Otieno

Name:Ellis Otieno
Occupation:Visual & Performing Artist

I am the third born in a family of nine. Two boys, nine girls. Interestingly, none of my family members is an artist.

I am a Visual and Performing artist. My main areas of specialty are Graphics Design and Directing plays for stage. I also offer lessons in fine arts.

I not only direct and produce plays, but I also mentor, nurture raw talent as well as offering a platform for upcoming artists.

I draw most of my inspiration from day to day activities that affect us either positively or negatively. In turn, I find satisfaction in expressing this through my performances.

My main vision is to see most, if not all empty spaces converted into performing platforms.

My role models are Oprah, Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola, Tyler Perry and Michael Douglas.

I am a trained Graphic Designer, Director,Actor, Writer and Human Resource Manager. I first attended Creative Arts Centre for a course in Graphic Design, before joining Buruburu Institute of Fine Art (BIFA) for the same. In 2006, I joined Shang Tao Media Arts College for a course in Animation and graduated with a Diploma.

I started directing plays in 1999, and tried it professionally for the first time in 2001. The whole theatrical journey was inspired by a friend, and it is through this, that The Friends of Theatre was formed. The Friends of Theatre later changed its name to The Friends Ensemble.

The Friends Ensemble, the theatre group that I helped found about 13 years ago won an Award for the production of the play ‘CAUGHT UNDER BEDSHEETS’ in the year 2003 at the METRO THEATRE AWARDS.

Some of the plays that I have directed or written are: Beijing Fever, Who’s the other Woman?, Rumours, The Opposite Sex, Throw Your Pants Up!, The Dot-com Bride!, Goodnight Girls, There Goes the Bride, Benta, Busted and I’ll be back before Midnight.

We have also staged our productions at different venues in the city.

For Better or for Wife! – 2012

Life Cycle
I started off as a Visual Artist, went on to Performing arts as an actor, writer and director. I am currently practicing both. To date I have directed over thirty six (36) productions on the local professional front.

I found my theatre voice in late 1999, formalized my art between 2001 – 2003. Mastered it the following year, thereafter taking an artistic break to go into teaching.

My plan for the next eighteen (18) months

One of the most challenging things an artist goes through, whether it is a visual or performing artist is space to put up their final product. This aside, there’s the question of rehearsal spaces and studios. My group and I are no exception, and this has really affected us as far as consistency is concerned.

My plan for the next few months is to try and find alternative spaces, whether permanent or temporary, so that we can be able to continue with our arts without breaks in between looking for spaces.

In the past and currently, my group and I have only managed to offer artistes temporary employment only when there is available space for performing, and this has in a huge way limited all of us. If I am able to secure space(s), then we can in turn be able to offer employment consistently which can also enable the artist save part of their amateurs (pay) as the future in this case is secured.

What’s New?

Two couples find themselves double-booked into a luxurious villa in Malindi. What do they have in common? Who is the mysterious killer? And why does he seem to want them all dead?
Those who love murder-mysteries will love this clever, Agatha Christie-esque production, with more plots than a politician and more twists than a corkscrew…

Watch DEAD MAN’S HAND from 17th – 19th August at Alliance Francaise.

This spine-chilling thriller is directed by Ellis Otieno.

Damage: Kshs.500


About Creative Enterprise Programme Kenya

Programme run by the GoDown Arts Centre in partnership with other stakeholders
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