Étienne Minoungou

We must work to balance the world’s multiple narratives, we can no longer do otherwise: that is what cultural diversity is about.

A stage director, actor and cultural entrepreneur, the Burkinabe Etienne Minoungou intends to create an African theatre scene thanks to his inventive plays and his Récréâtrales project, a real laboratory for pan-African artistic creations.

Updated on 24/06/2019

2 min

Born in 1968 in Burkina Faso, Étienne Minoungou obtained  his degree in urban sociology from the University of Ouagadougou, as well as a CAPES in French language and literature at the French Higher National Institute of Educational Sciences, which led him to teach French at the Ziniaré high school. Passionate about theatre, he joined in Ouagadougou Jean-Pierre Guingané troupe, le Théâtre de la Fraternité , of which he was artistic director from 1996 to 1999. At the same time, he wrote and staged several plays in which he also often performed, such as Prisoners (“Prisonniers”), in 1999.

In 2000, Etienne Minoungou founded his own company, la Compagnie Falinga, before launching the “Récréâtrales” two years later, a residency which hosts artists from different African countries for two to three months. Its goal: to promote the creation and dissemination of theatre in Africa.

A dramaturge, director and actor, the Burkinabe performer delivers memorable performances, as demonstrated by his roles in Madame, I Love You (“Madam, je vous aime”) (2002) and I’m Called Mohammed Ali (“M'appelle Mohamed Ali”) (2014).

Étienne Minoungou calls for a lively theatre capable of establishing dialogue between the stage and the audience. It is with this in mind that he wrote and staged The Prisoners and The Republic Dances (“La République danse”), two successful plays that test the written text through the actors’ improvisations.

The dramatist and director also emphasizes this importance of orality as an actor, by including the texts of the Congolese writer Sony Labou Tansi, among others, in the play If we want to Live (“Si nous voulons vivre”), performed in 2017 at the Avignon Festival.

As a politically-engaged artist, the Burkinabe strives to overcome the lack of cultural policies in Africa by creating the Coalition des artistes et intellectuels du Burkina Faso with the philosophy lecturer Mahamadé Savadogo in 2010. Étienne Minoungou facilitates meetings between arts professionals and researchers from Burkina Faso, who together reflect on the implementation of cultural initiatives on the African continent.

President of the International Theatre Institute in Burkina Faso, Étienne Minoungou is a key player in the growing dissemination of African theatre abroad, thanks in particular to his Récréâtrales.

It was as part of this residency that he wrote Madame, I Love You. Praised by critics, the show is performed in Paris and Brussels, paving the way for a long series of international successes for the festival.

The play, I’m Called Mohammed Ali, based on an original text from the Congolese writer Dieudonné Niangouna, in which Étienne Minoungou plays the American boxer, was also presented in the Récréâtrales in 2014, before appearing in Belgium at the Avignon Festival and in Africa, notably in Chad, Djibouti and Tunisia.

  • 1996


    Étienne Minoungou takes up the position of artistic director of the Théâtre de la Fraternaternité in Ouagadougou, which he will hold until 1999.

  • 2000


    He is appointed President of the International Theatre Institute in Burkina Faso.

  • 2000


    The Burkinabe director and actor founds the Falinga Company, which he still runs today.

  • 2002


    Étienne Minoungou founds les Récréâtrals in Ouagadougou, a pan-African residency for writing and theatre education.

  • 2002


    His play, Madam, I Love You, written and performed in Ouagadougou as part of the Récréâtrales, has been a great success, including in Paris and Brussels.

  • 2014


    Étienne Minoungou plays the American boxer, Mohamed Ali, in a play with international impact, I’m Called Mohammed Ali.

The Institut français and the director

The Récréâtrales, founded by Étienne Minoungou, are supported by the Institut français as part of its promotion of Francophone dramatic writing and its support for African cultural actors.

L'institut français, LAB