QUESTIONS have supportably been asked lately: Is the National Theatre Arts Association of Zambia (NATAAZ) senior theatre festival scheduled for this October?
The answer is an emphatic no, the festival, according to latest information has been rescheduled to November 18-21 with the venue, Maramba Cultural Centre in Livingstone remaining unchanged, NATAAZ national chairperson Boyd Kaimbi Chibale said this week citing among others lack of club logistical data as a contributing factor.
“NATAAZ would like to advise all its affiliates, stakeholders, theatre enthusiasts and the general public that the 2015 Senior Performing Arts Theatre Festival that was set for October 21 – 24 has been moved to 18 – 21 November, 2015 with the venue and all other details remaining the same,” Boyd said admitting the fiscal planning has been uneasy with most theatre groups affiliating late, hardly submitting information about their theatrical activities and unsuccessful corporate support.
Boyd explained in what appeared a snap statement, “Additionally, the shift to November has been necessitated by the feeling to allow organisations and all invited personnel to the Livingstone festival to participate in celebrating the country’s 51st Independence Celebration in their respective domains.”
Believably, some theatre groups like ZANASE, Africa Directions and Kasama Arts Theatre Ensemble (KATE) would have had to make a juicy choice of either attending to their local independence program or go for the Livingstone carnival!
KATE, like last year, will be traveling to South Africa on October 19 which is tomorrow at the special invitation of Zambians living in Pretoria to spice up the entertainment package during the independence anniversary celebrations.
In fact, KATE director Peter Chinunda requested that I accompany his team to South Africa, but for my hectic and eventful scheme the last few weeks and during this period, I could not.
Boyd, animatedly, announced that NATAAZ with permission from the National Arts Council (NAC) has excitingly allowed for a Zimbabwean theatre group, Rooftop Promotions to take part in the Livingstone festival with a minimalist drama ‘The Past is for the Future’.
Rooftop Promotions renowned for controversial and contemporary plays has considered the play as a winter warmer special treat, a play featuring veteran actress Eunice Tava and Lisa Gutu.
For NATAAZ this is a plus as collaboration will similarly be worked out to send some of the outstanding theatre performances after the festival, added the NATAAZ boss.
‘The Past is for the Future’ is an emotional play written by renowned playwright Stephen Chifunyise – the play is based on the story of an abandoned 16-year-old girl, Ruvarashe (played by Gutu), who grows up with a desire to be an actress. As the intriguing play progresses, her mother, Dorothy Muchena (played by Tava) finds her daughter.
When her father reappears, Ruvarashe wants answers from him while Dorothy feels such an approach will not do anyone any good.
Speaking to the Herald newspaper last June Chifunyise said the play had several important messages, primarily, the importance of putting the past behind and looking to the future.
“Another note is about the love of a mother that never dies and that builds a future from a sad past,” he said.
“It does not help to remain tied to a negative past when it is possible to use one’s talent to generate a positive future from a sad past.”
The audience, he said, would appreciate that with determination, impossibilities could be translated into possibilities.
Tava is a film, television and stage actress who doubles up as an acting coach and artiste’s agent. She is the production director and has directed several productions — Colour of Dreams and Election Day. She was involved with Ganyau Express, Heaven’s Diary, Madam Speaker Sir and the feature film, Sinners.
It is generally believed The Past is for the Future as one of Rooftops latest play touched on real life stories and expressed hope that the messages in the play would help to unlock some hidden past.
“Lisa, who is straight from an arts school, will encourage other upcoming actors and actresses to be confident to show their untamed talent on stage,” Tava explained.
Gutu, who is taking part in a stage play for the first time, studied arts with the University of Zimbabwe.
Zambia and Zimbabwe have over the past years worked together in theatre programs – Yezi Arts during its April International Theatre Festival has always invited groups to cross into Zambia, similarly some local theatre groups have travelled across the Zambezi to attend festivals there, Boyd explained encouraging all the local theatre groups to adequately prepare for the festival saying the rescheduling should give time for polished and better productions.
The Zambia Adjudicators’ Panel (ZAP) vice chairperson Rev Buster Tembo has acknowledged the postponement of the festival. He said this would allow for independence celebrations to go on as planned in respective districts and town; while his committee was still accessing the adjudicators’ suitability during the festival.
Good news: Mufulira Arts Council (MAC) and Nkana-Kitwe Arts Society (NKAS) have productions set for October. MAC has Joemwa Msinje Mwale’s The Family Crunch set for October 24 and 30 and 31.
The Family Crunch is the contemporary familiar story of the economic crumb down in which the bread winner loses his company following the recess, shifts from the apamwamba class to the shanty compound bringing out difficulties how the children find it hard to cope up.
NKAS’ Legacy written by Barney Kanjela and directed by veteran actress Pulani Munthali reminisces on the good name left behind after one has died. Highlights of the play include the fashioned Jimmy Lungu and Kazungo Bwalya and the play is set for 30 and 31 October.
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