The International Theatre Festival (ITFH) which was held recently in the capital ended on a high note with both visual and performing artists calling for unity and closer cooperation in the development of the sector.
The three-day festival which ran under theme, “The Future is African,” drew participants from Zambia and South Africa, including Zimbabwe.
The event was held at the Theatre in the Park and was hailed for promoting the growth of visual and performing arts in the country and the region.
Zambian theatrical director, Francis Malunga said it was important for performing artists to unite and collaborate in various ways to share experiences and grow the arts and cultural industry.
“It was a wonderful journey. I have learnt quite a lot especially on script writing and Zimbabweans are good at telling their own stories and it is a bit different from how we do in Zambia, even the genres of script writing. Here in Zimbabwe mostly it is physical and forum theatre, but back home we do mainstream theatre. It’s a wonderful experience seeing a lot of changes and developments, even the way I am thinking now as a director and writer,” said Malunga, director of Bantu Empire whose group performed their play ‘Knife Edge’ at the festival.
“We don’t want to experiment new ideas. Our story-telling is based on one theme. We should be versatile and we write scripts without thinking about our audiences, a story must be something we should relate to. For Africa to develop we must unite and work together. We need to exchange notes and have more of fellowship programs. We should tell our own African stories based on our own social and cultural experiences.”
The festival was held as part of celebrations to mark World Theatre day in Zimbabwe. Theatre In The Park commissioned the painting of the visages of prominent Zimbabwean theatre practitioners who have passed away.
Event organisers unveiled the ‘Walk of Fame’ which honoured Zimbabwean theatre artists who made an indelible contribution to the industry. This was meant immortalize their extraordinary contribution to the arts industry.
The unveiling of the mural was followed by the theatrical performances: “Beautiful Zimbabwe” by CHIPAWO, “The Hostel” by Amakhosi and “Matters of The Heart” by Boikano Theatre from South Africa. “SADC regional interaction led to the formation of the SADC Producers Forum. It’s mandate was to facilitate ease of sharing of productions, training and opportunities for funding and other resources. We learnt a lot and co-creation of productions was also high on the agenda. We look forward to next year with confidence,” said creative director of Theatre in the Park, Peter Churu.
“It was a marvelous experience. We can achieve more by collaborating with peers beyond our country and Africa.”