Kalungi Ssebandeke Interview

4th June 2022

Kalungi Ssebandeke, writer, actor, musician and mentor for the WAF Young Reveiwers programme

The WAF Young Reviewers programme started in 2021, when I was asked to mentor a group of young critics and introduce them to the basics of reviewing. Last year, the programme was delivered via Zoom, but luckily this year we’re able to do it all in person at Theatre503. My aim this year is to make the programme a bit more practical, so along with going to shows at the Wandsworth Arts Fringe, they’ll also be working on creating and performing their own short pieces of work which will then be reviewed by their peers.

My own experiences as a writer, performer and musician give me a unique perspective on reviewing, because I know what it is review a piece of art and what it is like to be reviewed – and to read those reviews. I think it is always an eye-opening or sobering experience for anyone who is critiquing creative work to also have their own work reviewed, because it can lead to you becoming a bit more respectful of how other people make their work.

We advertised the programme through schools, youth groups, arts organisations and social media all connected to the Wandsworth area. The young critics are welcome to submit their reviews in any format they choose. So it doesn’t have to be a traditional written review, like the kind you’d find in a newspaper. It could be something closer to a TikTok video, for example.

I’ve lived in Wandsworth for 22 years and I still think it’s such a great area. We’ve got Battersea Arts Centre, Theatre503, Battersea Park, the Magic Garden and loads of other places where you can see live performance and get a sense of how creative this area is. The Wandsworth Arts Fringe makes use of all those venues, and more, but above all it brings an additional sense of excitement and energy to the area. I just hope it continues to get bigger and better each year.”

Kalungi Ssebandeke, writer, actor, musician and mentor for the WAF Young Critics programme