The two-week theatre workshop will see the artists adapting plays by famous Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, into their own African context.
Ibsen is the most widely performed dramatist in the world and he has been referred to as the “Father of Modern Drama”. Although he lived over a century ago, his ideas, which regularly outraged the audiences of his time, are still thought-provoking and relevant to society and development in southern Africa today.
“Our major goals include youth training, cultural development and regional integration and cooperation in creating thought-provoking dramas,” said Chipawo World director, Dr Robert McLaren.
Dr McLaren said the project would be implemented in three stages of which the first stage had seen the formation of small professional youth companies in South Africa and Namibia, which have all come to meet their Zimbabwean counterparts.
He said during the camp the young artists would negotiate or interrogate the ideas and issues raised in three of Ibsen’s plays in the context of the realities of their own societies and come up with new theatre productions.
New Horizon has already gone through the process with the play A Doll’s House, which raises deeply challenging issues relating to marriage, law and religion with regard to gender equity.
“There will also be training workshops and the camp will end with public preview performances with which the participants will demonstrate what they would have come up with during the camp,” said Chipawo Zimbabwe manager, Chipo Basopo.
Basopo said the South Africans would interrogate issues raised by Ibsen in the play An Enemy of the People, which is a story of a doctor who discovers that the water in a town is contaminated.
Namibians would deal with inherited and congenitally transmitted diseases, such as HIV and Aids, as well as the question of public image and social stigma in relation to such diseases, as raised in the play Ghosts.
“In the following two stages the three plays will be perfected, rehearsed, performed and will go on tour of participating countries before participants come together in a regional workshop,” said Basopo.
“We hope that the “Negotiating Ibsen in Southern Africa” project will culminate in the foundation of a regular international theatre festival in Africa, dedicated to plays that explore and provoke ideas related to society and development in the spirit of Ibsen.”