Bulawayo prepares tomorrow’s stars

Takudzwa Chihambakwe —
Bulawayo’s theatre hub, Theatre for Everyone, is set to host an intensive playwrights and directors’ training workshop next month.

The six-day training workshop will see 20 young theatre enthusiasts receiving training and being assessed by a panel consisting of Zimbabwean theatre professionals.

“We have noticed that there is potential in getting more audiences if you produce good plays. A good production’s roots come from a good script and we feel that if we empower the upcoming playwrights with good writing skills then we will continue having a steady growth in our audiences,” said one of the organisers of the workshop, Nonhlalo Dube.

“The same applies to directing, if you have a good script but a director fails to interpret it then you are bound to get a poor production. The two go hand in hand,” she added.

Dube and her team have already begun calling for those interested to apply and the successful candidates will undergo training that seeks to achieve objectives such as improved script writing and directing skills, increased understanding of the theatre making process from script writing and interpretation to actual performances.

lt is also hoped that the availability of appropriate theatre training opportunities for young people in theatre will be enhanced.

“The workshops will also help to cover the generation gap that we have. We have very few professional playwrights and directors, especially in Bulawayo. The very few that we have are in their late 40s, hence the reason for targeting youngsters aged between 18 to 35 years,” she revealed.

Besides the generational gap issue, another factor that is of concern in Bulawayo’s theatre scene is that there are very few female playwrights and directors.

“We also hope that we will have a considerable number of women applying to be part of this training because we want to see a rise in the number of female artistes rising as directors and playwrights.

“For instance, last year as Theatre for Everyone we produced seven plays of which only one had a female director. So through this programme we want to see an improvement in 2017.”

Dube also highlighted that one other key aspect that is affecting the growth of theatre in Bulawayo is the scarcity of platforms to showcase the artistes’ work.

“While funding is a critical component that is lacking right across the entire arts sector in Zimbabwe, when it comes to theatre the challenge we have, especially here in Bulawayo, is the lack of platforms for those who want to hone their craft.

“The aspiring playwrights and directors have nowhere to go and try out their work and make those mistakes that enable them to grow. Yes, we have our platform now available but we need more of such or even better in order to boost the quality of our productions.”

She added: “Theatre for Everyone has its limited in-house resources to run programmes but we are still lobbying for more funds to make this training a success.”

Theatre for Everyone is set to host awards in April.

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