Olive branch for Theatre in the Park

HARARE - Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) are ready to re-engage Theatre in the Park over a venue used by the latter if the theatre organisation apologises first.

The two arts organisations have been involved in an ugly spat over their failure to agree on a new contract for the venue used by Theatre in the Park owned by ZIBF.

Theatre in the Park have used the gazebo in the ZIBF grounds as their outdoor theatre venue for the past 17 years but have refused to sign a new contract.

The theatre organisation which is led by popular actor Daves Guzha alleges that ZIBF have unilaterally shortened the agreement’s lifespan to six months instead of a full year.

Yesterday, ZIBF chairpeson Musaemura Zimunya gave the clearest indication that the two parties could find common ground.

“We hope to give peace a chance”, the ZIBF chairperson told the Daily News.

“What we have said on the matter is enough but naturally we expect them to apologise. They have continued to use the venue despite the fact that they have not signed an agreement with us”.

Zimunya, a University of Zimbabwe lecturer, who is also the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Writers Association, believes that it is in the best interests of Theatre in the Park to re-engage with ZIBF.

“We cannot determine how they should re-engange with us but the sooner they do it, the better. We think an apology to us will not be a bad idea.”

Zimunya was unwilling to say more on the matter but in an interview with the Daily News on Sunday last week, he described Theatre in the Park’s allegations as “an extreme exercise in truth-twisting”.

The ZIBF boss added that the standoff had been caused by Theatre in the Park’s failure to renew the agreement when it expired early this year.

“…Rooftop Promotions (owners of Theatre in the Park) failed to seek to renew the agreement at its expiry in February even though they continued to occupy and use ZIBF premises and only came to the negotiating table in July.

“ZIBF put forward six months beginning in July only as a suggestion because even after requiring Rooftop Promotions to indicate exactly when their desired year’s agreement should begin, they were not forthcoming”. - Dakarai Mashava

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