By Kennedy Nyavaya
Preparations are at an advanced stage for the inaugural Mitambo International Theatre Festival scheduled to showcase a wide range of theatre performances, master classes and paper presentations at different venues in Harare from Tuesday to Saturday, organisers have said.
Themed Emerge, the fiesta, set to run annually, will see local and international thespians participate in celebrating the diversity of cultural identity and artistic expression.
In an interview with Standard Style, renowned actor and festival manager Teddy Mangava said foreign troupes had started landing in what would be a mutually beneficial platform for theatre practitioners and audiences.
“For now most of the things are in place and we have two groups from Israel and the United States, which have already arrived with paper work still in process but taking a favourable direction,” said Mangava.
“This potential cross-pollination of ideas, aesthetics and professional artistic potential between local and international artistic initiatives will enhance the Zimbabwean theatre landscape towards performing arts taking on an active role in the socio-economic growth of our society.”
Other expected countries include Switzerland, Trinidad, Israel, Egypt, India, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and South Africa among many others from the continent and abroad.
The festival comes at a time theatre has been struggling to attract significant audiences locally as in the past owing to scarce opportunities for theatrical talent to flourish.
“We believe that this festival is going to attract new audiences which will get to understand and appreciate theatre, going forward,” said Mangava, calling upon more local artistes to participate in following editions.
Access to the shows, which will happen at the Reps Theatre main stage, Reps Upstairs and Jasen Mphepo Little Theatre, will cost ZW$40, ZW$25 and ZW$15 respectively.
Those set for the University of Zimbabwe as well as workshops and symposiums will be free of charge.
“We felt that it would not make sense to make the fees higher and get few people than to make it cheap and reach out to huge numbers (because) we also understand the hardships of our economy as a country,” said Mangava.
Meanwhile, the festival will present shows from all categories, including early years (1-7 years olds), teenagers (high school children), university students and lecturers, emerging and professional and families.