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21 awards to be given at Malawi Theatre Festival

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National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) said on Tuesday it was ready for the inaugural Malawi International Theatre Festival to be held at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) and Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre from December 1 to 4 2022.

Ntam President Maxwell Chiphinga said during a press briefing at Amaryllis Hotel that they were still in negotiations with various stakeholders ahead of the festival whose total budget is over K60 million.

“This is a festival strictly dedicated to theatre. We have festivals dominated by music but this one is for theatre and, then, we will also have comedy, dances and some acoustic performances,” Chiphinga said.

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He said they received over 50 applications from local and international acts and that, after a thorough scrutiny they have selected eight groups from outside and 12 are local.

“We will also have workshops where both local and international groups will share ideas in terms of growing theatre. We are serious and will even have a corner for theatre for children,” Chiphinga said.

Some of the international groups to perform include Zambezi Arts from Zambia, Elysium Magna Dance Theatres and Zimbabwe Theatre Academy from Zimbabwe, Mthobisi (South Africa), People’s Theatre from USA.

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The country will be represented by groups such as Umunthu Theatre, Chanco Travelling Theatre, Dikamawoko Arts, New Beginning Theatre, Rise Theatre, Logos Theatre, YDC Theatre, Upile Drama Group, Urunji Arts and Emancipation Theatrical Ensemble.

The festival’s lead coordinator Bright Chayachaya said they will also decorate theatre practitioners during the festival, with 21 awards set to be presented.

“We will give out awards during an awards gala. This is all about celebrating theatre and culture and giving theatre experience to the audience,” Chayachaya said.

He said through their performances at the festival, they will also look at the issue of HIV and Aids during the launch and 16 Days of Activism where they will take time to hold free shows in the streets to sensitise people on gender-based violence.

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