Ogutu Mũraya, Sitawa Namwalie, Wanjikũ Mwawuganga & Sarah Camille

Calls of the Hummingbird

Norway  / Kenya

«Calls of the Hummingbird» tells the story of a little bird which acts very differently from all other animals when faced with a devastating bush fire. Knowing well that it cannot extinguish the fire all by itself, the delicate bird courageously starts fighting the flames nonetheless. When asked about its pointless action, it answers: «I give my best». Inspired by the Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner and environmental activist Wangarĩ Maathai, who often cites this fable, the author, theatremaker and storyteller Ogutu Mũraya (present at the 2018 festival with «Because I Always Feel Like Running») has created the storytelling evening «Calls of the Hummingbird» for the Theater Spektakel.

Muraya has invited three artists to tell the story of the hummingbird from their point of view: the poet and performer Sitawa Namwalie and the director Wanjikũ Mwawuganga, both from Kenya, as well as the Oslo-based slam poet Sarah Camille. Together they have created four versions of the story, into which Mũraya has infused rhythmic virtuosity and dramatic feeling. (rb)


About the Collective Listenings

Collectively listening to the radio on picnic blankets on the Landiwiese is one of the festival’s answers to the pandemic. Performers and musicians from Beirut, Nairobi, Windhoek, New York and Oslo have developed new audio-formats for summer evenings in Zürich. Two things have always characterised the Theater Spektakel: community and international diversity – both of which are presently close to impossible. And so, we have asked these artists to create projects for an audio format from afar. During these «Collective Listenings» you sit on a picnic blanket with a radio. Together with hundreds of other people, you can listen to songs and stories by the US performance artist Laurie Anderson, a moderated concert of the Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila, a soundscape by the Namibian performer Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja or «Calls of the Hummingbird» told by Ogutu Muraya and three storytellers.


Artistic direction and cast

KonzeptOgutu Mũraya
Ko-KurationOgutu Mũraya und Maria Rößler
StorytellingOgutu Mũraya, Wanjikũ Mwawuganga, Sitawa Namwalie und Wangarĩ Muta Maathai
OriginalmusikSarah Camille
N’goni, PerkussionSidiki Camara
GitarreArnljot Nordvik
TondesignLuigi MK


KoproduktionZürcher Theater Spektakel 2020
Freundliche UnterstützungWangarĩ Maathai Foundation
BilderDiana Blok (Muraya), Kristin Aafløy Opdan (Camille)


Site map

Collective Listening to the Radio

Storytelling / Comissioned work, co-production, premiere


60 mins.



Registration / Seat reservation

mandatory via ticketing (see below)

Protective measure

One «infection community» per picnic blanket is allowed. If you buy a ticket just for yourself, no one else will sit on the blanket with you. People living together are asked to reserve a shared blanket (maximum of four people).

Please note

Headsets are available upon request at the entrance.


This production is supported by the Wangarĩ Maathai Foundation.

Openair event

In case of heavy rain, the event must be postponed or cancelled. Check theaterspektakel.ch and Facebook no later than two hours before at the latest to find out if the performance takes place.




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