Early in his acting career Malick Bowens met the worldwide renowned director Peter Brook who invited him to join his theater company, ICTR (International Center on Theatrical Research). This meeting led to a long lasting collaboration, which had a great influence on the actor’s life and career. The actor is still actively involved in the company’s projects and its search for universal convergences between the great diversity of theatrical expressions. His African heritage and European experiences make his artistic contribution very special. The novel and experimental approach imply playing on stages all over the world for the most diverse audiences. Hence the actor has performed in San Francisco and Still Water Penitentiary in Texas, Native Americans in Minnesota, residents of impoverished neighborhoods in Mexico, New York and London, patients from psychiatric wards in various countries, villagers in West Africa… While working on ICTR projects with Peter Brook, Malick Bowens developed acting skills in the Shakespearian tradition and mastered the fundamental principals of improvisation and concentration. He did extensive voice and physical training and practiced classical languages such as Greek and Latin. His professionalism and talent quickly led him to the most prestigious stages in the world: “The Brooklyn Academy of Music” and the “La Mama Theater” in New York; “The Royal Court,” “Round House,” and “The Almeida Theatre” in London; “Les Bouffes of the Nord” and “Le Theatre of the Ville” in Paris; “Olympico” and the “Pyramide” theaters in Rome; “Porta Romena” in Milan; “The Schaubukne” in Berlin; “The Nimorod Theatre” in Sydney.
Without renouncing the stage Malick Bowens started playing for film directors, both in cinema and television. We all remember his interpretation of the charismatic steward Farah Aden in the twelve Oscars winning movie ‘Out of Africa’ (directed by S. Pollack, co-starring Robert Redford and Merryl Streep). Some of his subsequent memorable participation in prestigious movies with the most eminent directors and actors include “The Believers” with John Schlesinger and Martin Sheen, “Bopha” with Morgan Freeman and Danny Glover, “When we were Kings” (the Oscar winning documentary) with Taylor Hackford, “Outbreak” with Wolfgang Peterson and Dustin Hoffman, “Ali” with Will Smith and Michael Mann, and “Tears of the Sun” with Bruce Willis. His versatility and taste for experimentation naturally drew him to the American independent film industry – he played in “Menage a Trois” co-starring with Segourney Weaver and Mary Alice – and he joined the Sundance Institute (“Work in Progress”) at Robert Redford’s prompting.
Among the many parts he played for television the following two need a special mention: his role in the series “Tarzan” (Worldivision Prod.) and in the film “The March” (BBC and A&E). The latter, recognized as one of the most important political films (directed by David Wheatley and written by William Nicholson) deals with the tragic lives of sub-Saharan migrants on their long journey toward Europe, a story that is unfortunately more relevant today than ever. In his professional and personal life Malick Bowens shows an unflagging curiosity for the arts and a desire for exchanges and partaking in experimental projects. He enjoys sharing his experience and ideas within the framework of workshops, universities and academic institutions. He regularly offers his support to non profit organizations which bring new technologies for the development of agriculture in drought ridden regions, or group searching for solutions to the situation of child soldiers in the world. His concern for and involvement in humanitarian and environmental causes, his sensibility to human suffering and social injustices has enabled him to meet and establish relationships with such prominent personalities as the Literature Nobel Prize winners Woli Soyinke and Toni Morrison; the Peace Nobel Prize recipient Desmond Tutu, the doctor Moshe Feldenkrais; the charismatic Chicano leader Cesar Chavez; the poet Ted Hughes; and the actors Robert Redford, Martin Sheen, Morgan Freeman, Taylor Hackford; personalities who share with him the conviction that talent and fame can be powerful tools in the ongoing struggle for the advancement of human rights.
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