From 2016 -2018 Lake of Stars worked with international NGO Girl Effect to launch and embed Malawi’s award-winning youth brand, Zathu. Zathu uses the power of music and storytelling to close the gender gap in Malawi and tackle challenging topics such as relationships, stereotypes, self-expression and sexual health. Lake of Stars provided in-country support across a mixture of mediums, including music production, videos, events and marketing campaigns.
Lake of Stars organisers have been part of the British Council West Africa Arts Festivals Programme over the last 12 months, delivering training and workshops alongside other festival organisers, aiming to create stronger connections and collaborations between UK and West African festivals across a range of art forms.
Set It Off was a one-day festival designed and produced by Lake of Stars in January 2018, providing a groundbreaking platform for women in the arts in Malawi. Showcasing poetry, theatre, comedy and music, every performance included at least one female artist in a leading role. Behind the scenes, the event crew also included female representation across all the teams, from sound and lighting through to security and production. The event took place at Malawi’s Chancellor College in Zomba and was created in partnership with HIVOS and the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
In 2017 Lake of Stars developed and produced the first Festival of Ideas in partnership with the British Council Malawi in Lilongwe’s Kamuzu Institute for Youth and Sports. The day-long interactive event used the arts to engage young people with ideas on governance and civic participation in their country. 1000 secondary and college students and members of youth groups took part in workshops which used performances, poetry, visual art, film, theatre and discussion to look at new ways for youth to get involved with issues on a local and national level.
In September 2016 Lake of Stars Founder Will Jameson took part in the third edition of TEDx Lilongwe, speaking about his experiences of setting up an international festival in Malawi and using cultural tourism to create demand. Here’s his talk:
In June 2015, Lake of Stars partnered with UNICEF Malawi to produce the first ever Children’s Future Festival in Lilongwe. From science displays to puppet shows, live music to sports demos, it was an action-packed day for all the family, including 500 free tickets distributed to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. In June 2016, the festival returned for its successful second edition with more live performances, workshops, games and much more, to celebrate the Day of the African child. Find out more.
The inaugural Lilongwe Shorts international short film festival was produced by Lake of Stars in May 2015. Shot, edited, and screened all within a space of 24 hours, this video of the event was created by Malawian filmmakers Mwizalero Nyirenda and Ernest Chikuni. Lilongwe Tots, the short film festival for children, returned as part of the 2016 Children’s Future Festival and the 2017 Festival of Ideas. 2018 saw Lilongwe Shorts expand with screenings in London in May, and the second edition of the festival at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in August.
In 2015 and 2016 Lake of Stars worked with the Mulanje Mountain Association and Save the Children to help raise awareness of the iconic Mount Mulanje Porter’s Race and produce a free community concert that took place at the finish line of the event.
In 2014, Lake of Stars brought Malawian artists Tay Grin and Mafilika together with Malawi / Swedish duo The Very Best and Scottish musicians Stanley Odd to perform at a special Lake of Stars showcase as part of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games cultural activity. The energetic evening of hip hop, afro-indie and dance-pop celebrated Glasgow and Scotland’s historic relationship with Malawi and was the biggest presentation of Malawi music outside of Malawi.
In September 2013, Lake of Stars produced City of Stars, the biggest international arts festival Lilongwe had ever seen, to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of the Lake of Stars Project. The team delivered a week of cultural activity in Lilongwe that included eight events hosted in six different locations around the city, ranging from poetry in the National Library to creative workshops. The main festival showcase at Sanctuary Lodge attracted well over 2000 people and featured more than 50 acts from Malawi, Norway, UK, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Sweden, Tanzania, and DR Congo.
Stars in Malawi is a documentary by One Stop Shots filmed at the 2010 / 2011 Lake of Stars festivals, featuring Foals, Noisettes, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Afrikan Boy, BBC Radio 1’s Nihal, Oliver Mtukudzi, Tay Grin, and many more…