Voluntary theatre regulatory body on cards

HARARE - Renowned theatre practitioners, media personnel, lawyers and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Nacz, recently met in Gweru to explore on how to professionalise the theatre sector and undertake an audit of existing theatre associations.

The national Indaba was the first of its kind by the sector in more than 32 years and theatre becomes the first sub-sector in the local arts industry to hold such an event.

Daves Guzha, one of the Indaba committee members said the Indaba’s objectives were to streamline and resuscitate some associations that are seemingly dead by identifying opportunities and threats for the theatre sector and suggest ways of effectively harnessing opportunities while mitigating threats.

Guzha said the Indaba resolved to establish theatre sector priorities and timelines for achieving the priorities and; set a tone towards the formulation of a national theatre policy.

“The sector sees the Indaba as the first bold step to deal with the current challenges prevailing in the sector. Some of the challenges the sector is facing range from organisation, of venues, content and stagnation,” said the playwright.

Guzha added that there were interesting presentations ranging from a paper on the need for a national theatre policy, media and arts, and a comparison of the Zimbabwe theatre situation with countries like South Africa that have a professional theatre sector in an effort to benchmark.

The Indaba resolved to establish a voluntary national regulatory body which will be spearheaded by a task team comprising of Guzha, Cont Mhlanga, Nehemiah Chivandikwa, Florence Mukanga –— Majachani and Josh Nyapimbi.

The body was mandated with following up on the resolutions and would plan next year’s 2nd Theatre Indaba.

It was also tasked with strengthening existing national associations with focus on ZITA, ZATCYP and ITI; conducting an audit/inventory of theatre venues and spaces and make recommendations as to what needs to be done to uplift them to acceptable standards.

Each province was encouraged to conduct its own inventory/audit; conducting research on training models taking place across the country in the hope of harmonising them and segmentation of the sector in an effort to encourage diversity.

The Indaba was supported by Norwegian Embassy in partnership with Hivos Foundation and Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust. - Bryn Gumbo

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