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Learning by Ear

Find out more about the project in our Learning by Ear blog from Lomé!

Destination Togo! As part of the prize, the winning story was adapted for the stage and played by members of the group "A nous la planète" in Lomé. You can catch up the events in our blog.

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Learning by Ear in Togo

Saturday, 27th October.
The seventh day: Finally, the day of the theatre performance.

There’s only one thing left to say: Congratulations to our actors, musicians and stage directors for the amazing show at the Goethe Institut in Lome! Now, it’s your turn…

LBE-Theaterstück in Togo Theater Probe Aufführung Lome LBE LBE_TIT

The audience watches the young actors in action!


“When I thought about all the people that would be watching, I was scared. But when we started to play, I realized that I could do it, and then I felt fine.”
- Méschak Ngaro alias Pemba

“I’ve learned a lot: How to react, how to look scared, tired or sad for example. The next time we will be doing something like that, I’ll already know this things and I’ll need less counselling.”
- Elvis Adom alias Pemba’s brother Malik

Togo Theater Probe Aufführung Lome LBE LBE_TIT Learning by ear DW

Marius Koudawoo plays the traditional story teller.


My friends and I really gave our best. I liked my part a lot, but it was also a difficult one: I had to behave like a chief, which I am not yet.”
- Robert Nyonhue alias the village’s chief

“I really enjoyed the teamwork, and the hints helped me to develop and improve my performance.”
- Marius Koudawoo alias the traditional story teller

LBE-Theaterstück in Togo Theater Probe Aufführung Lome LBE LBE_TIT

A scene from our theatre play in Togo: A huge success!

“The play is fantastic. I liked it a lot, since it is about children, child labour and child trafficking. I think it can help focussing people’s attention to children’s rights.”
- Immaculée Nyonhue alias Pemba’s and Malik’s mother


Thursday, 25 October.
The sixth day: The pressure is rising!

Togo Theater Probe Aufführung Lome LBE LBE_TIT Learning by ear DW

The group "A nous la planète": All smiles waiting for the final day!

Do we have all the equipment we need? Who is going to wear which costume? Those are our big questions the day before the theatre performance. Déodah Koffi, who is playing the boss who makes Pemba and Malik work tirelessly, is already wearing his costume: A black tux and glasses. The girls have put on clothes in all different colours, and the children in slavery are using real props now.

Togo Theater Probe Aufführung Lome LBE LBE_TIT Learning by ear DW

The actors from "A nous la planète" use real props now.

“We are going to give everything to make the play a success”, promises Hip Ohomfodji, who plays the boss’ guard. And the last rehearsal already gives him right. We’ve drawn the dimensions of the scene in Goethe Insitute, including the different entrance ways on the rooftop at “A nous la planète” to be able to rehearse under almost real conditions. Without any interruptions, the last rehearsal definitely shows: Everybody’s ready for the big day!

Friday, 26th October.

The fifth day: From very good to even better!

"I hope Saturday will come soon!” Marius Koudawoo, who pays the traditional story teller, can’t wait to show the fruits of his group’s work during the last days.During today’s rehearsal, the musicians of “A nous la planète” add a special rhythm to introduce the story teller every time he appears in between the scenes.

The other actors are eager to play on Saturday as well.Everybody wants the performance to be a great success. This is of course also the case for stage director Yann Durand who is part of our Leaning by Ear team, in charge of French at Deutsche Welle.

LBE-Theaterstück in Togo Theater Probe Aufführung Lome LBE

Finally: The official award ceremony.

Yann also wrote the text for the theatre play currently rehearsed here in Lomé. He is very happy with the progress the young actors have been making in the last days: “I liked very much what I saw today” is what he tells the actors at the end of today’s rehearsal.

Luc Alanda Koubidina, theatre educator and our co-director, also motivates them to keep on working: "What you are doing is already very good. Now, we’ll make it even better than very good.”

The homework for tomorrow: Studying the text once more and bringing a costume for the next rehearsal.

Wednesday, 24th October
The fourth day: The children’s daily routine in slavery.

Seven children are sleeping on the floor. They wake up to the sound of drums and get up, yawning.

LBE-Theaterstück in Togo Theater Probe Aufführung Lome LBE

The big day has come: But our actors simply shook their excitement off.

It is not even six o’clock in the morning, but their working day is already about to begin.

The boys work in the fields, the girls in the house. This is the key scene of the play,rehearsed today for the first time. And it is one of the most difficult scenes of the whole play because the actors have to express themselves without words.Their bodies,their movements and the expressions in their faces tell the audience about the hard work they do every day – especially in comparison with their bosses children who go to school and play happily after coming home.


Luckily, this nightmare will soon come to an end.

LBE_TIT_Theaterprobe, Mutter mit Kind

The actors look on as two of them enact a part.

The children will find their way back to their parents, and in one of the last scenes, their aunt Saba

LBE_TIT Learning by Ear Togo Lomé

Yann Durand explains a point to the actors.

confesses to having trafficked the children to solve her own financial problems.

This is the favourite scene of Bouloufèi Bèwèzima, the winner of the Learning by Ear competition. The play is based on his initial idea, and he says he is very happy with what this idea is turning into.


Tuesday , 23rd October.
The third day: A Family reunion and a traditional story teller.

How do you greet a family member that has come a long way to see you? How do you show your joy? What songs do you sing at home? To put the scenes to live and to make them look more realistic, the theatre educator Luc Alanda Koubidina, makes the actors use their own daily life experiences. Immaculée Nyonhue, in the role of the mother of the two trafficked children, claps her hands and starts to sing and dance to celebrate the return of her daughter and son. The other girls – in the roles of women of the same village – join her and soon everybody is celebrating.

Except for Marius Koudawoo, who is pacing up and down in another corner. Don’t worry: It’s not that he hasn’t been invited to the party. But he is focusing on a very difficult role: He will be the traditional story teller who has to guide the audience through the play by linking the scenes and by giving them background information.

Like yesterday, today was all about working with the main characters of the play. Tomorrow, the whole group will be there. Our big aim: Putting the scenes together and play the complete story from top to toe for he first time!

Monday, 22nd October.
The second day: Turning into somebody else!

LBE_TIT Theaterprobe auf dem Dach 2

Pretending to be asleep - a tough job indeed!

Prisca Ayebou is 18 years old and is studying medicine. "But from today on, you will have to behave like a 40 year old woman", says Luc Alanda Koubidina, a theatre educator who will be working with the young actors during the rehearsals.

LBE_TIT Learning by Ear-Theaterprojekt in Lomé, Togo

Getting ready for the rehearsal means warming up the whole body!

40 years, that’s the age of the aunt Saba that Prisca will be playing. This aunt takes two of her brother’s children across the border to work in the fields and household of a rich famliy, under almost inhumane circumstances.

LBE_TIT Theaterprobe auf dem Dach 1

Deeply engaged: the actors are busy with their rehearsals.

The theatre educator’s advice: "Plunge completley into the role and turn into another person for the duration of the play, adapt his or her sorrows and feelings and show them to the audience." But of course it is not that simple... That’s why a lot of the first execises focused on this aspect.

LBE_TIT Learning by Ear Togo Lomé

Prisca Ayebou (right) and Eric Tanan (left) are practising their roles.


We are curious to see the results during the next rehearsal!

Sunday, 21st october: A great first day!

It has been a motivating start for us in Lomé . Many thanks to the youth club "A nous la planète". We are rearing to go!

LBE_TIT Learning by Ear Togo Lomé

The theatre coach Alanda Koubidina in action.

On the very first day, a big surprise was waiting for us in Lomé.We were ready for a read through and to choose the right actors for different roles.

LBE_TIT Learning by Ear Togo Lomé

Our actors are also talented musicians!

But we did not even need the text books we had carried all the way to Lomé: The youth club, "A nous la planète", had already studied the text and invited us to watch the first version of the play. A promising start and a great base to work in the next days.