TV actress falls in love with theatre

HARARE - Local companies and other corporates should also consider sponsoring theatre development and the world of film as both spheres are lagging behind, a top actress has said.

Chipo Eva Bizure who started acting in 2000 when she was 16, bemoaned the absence of serious sponsorship packages saying this was slowing down progress in the acting sector.

“I think above all we as artists need to be respected — people and even our directors have to respect us and treat us just as they treat sports personalities. Corporates should come in and partner us so that collectively we can produce more stage plays and films for television,” said Bizure.

The actress is popular to many Zimbabweans as Eve, the character she played in the television soap, Studio 263 in which she starred as the girlfriend of Muvengwa. She captivated many viewers by how she was able to manipulate her “sugar daddy” Muvengwa to get things done her way.

“I was part of the cast from 2000 and featured in that soap for seven years of which playing the role of Eve became a part of me.

“I really enjoyed playing that role and together with the rest of the cast we ended up being just one big family; sharing ideas and perfecting our series. It was not easy to produce something every day for seven years but personally I enjoyed myself during that time.”

The actress said while at home she rehearses her scripts with the help of her 12-year-old daughter. “My daughter helps me rehearse and it is not surprising that already she has mastered the art of acting because she does it so well.”

Recently, Bizure took part in the play A Love Song for the Impotent Son-in-Law written by two renowned Zambian writers Samuel Kasankha Phiri and Henry Joe Sakala and directed by Memory Kumbota which showcased at Theatre in the Park in Harare.

Bizure’s dream is to one day own a production house. “God willing, I would like to run my own production house and produce for both television and stage. I enjoy my work and I would say over the years that I have practiced; I have been inspired more by theatre producer Daves Guzha from Rooftop Promotions.

“Guzha’s maturity and experience makes him stand above the rest. I worked under him when we did plays like Sinners, Heal the Wounds and Rituals, both in which I featured prominently.”

Bizure said at times theatre comes with its risks. “I was once arrested together with the Rituals cast when we were performing in Chimanimani. The police details came just after we had finished our performance and arrested us.

“We spent three days locked in the police cells with the rest of the cast and it was a horrible period for me which I do not want to think about often. It was a frightening experience just being locked up behind bars for three nights in dirty and unhygienic conditions.”

While she has tasted both television and theatre, Bizure said her real passion has been theatre. “I love theatre more because it is fun performing in front of a live audience.”

The actress was born in Rusape and attended a number of schools. “I went to a couple of schools because every time my mother who was in the police force got transferred I also had to move. I attended school in Hatfield, Highfield and Dzivaresekwa.”

A self-taught actress, she started off as a model before switching to full-time acting. “I remember participating in my first drama when I was in Grade Five at Chipembere Primary School — it was a Shona play although I cannot remember its title.

“While in Form 2, I competed in the Miss Teen modelling competition. It is then that a guy named Brown asked me if I wanted to try television acting and I said yes. I auditioned for Studio 263 and got a spot and began acting as Eve.”

As a student, she instantly became popular at her school as she began showcasing on the television soap Studio 263. “A bus used to pick me up from school every day for rehearsals all students admired my success as they also saw me on television on a daily basis.”

Bizure said her advice to youngsters is that when they decide to join the acting industry, they need to come in not expecting a lot of rewards. “They can join in if they have a passion for the arts and they should not come in for money because they will be disappointed. There are a lot of challenges within this field.”

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