The third edition of Easter Theatre Festival will this year be held at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre from April 3-5.
Organisers announced this during a press briefing held at JCC on Wednesday afternoon.
Spearheaded by Solomonic Peacocks, the festival came into effect to bring on board theatre, dance and poetry in a unique setting.
Solomonic Peacocks Director, McArthur Matukuta, said Thursday they were ready with the festival.
“It is a platform where artists from Malawi as well as international artists come together to perform and celebrate the arts. As a festival, we offer a unique opportunity for audiences and artists to discuss current issues and also offer space for networking and performing,” Matukuta said.
He said this year’s festival will run under the theme ‘Theatre innovation that moves nations’.
“As a festival, we also offer educational workshops to young people, students and theatre artists along its three pillars namely performance, education (workshops) and networking,” Matukuta, a former National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) president said.
He described last year’s festival as a success and that they were there to stand for equal access and opportunity for Malawians to participate and enjoy theatre arts.
“We aim at providing an annual theatre festival event for people to experience engaging theatre, education and culture to strengthen the theatre arts industry of Malawi by creating sustainable and decent jobs to the youths and theatre artists in line with Sustainable Development Goal number eight and championing National Cultural Policy of Malawi,” Matukuta said.
Matukuta said the country has a rich and diverse tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
“Theatre provides the opportunity to sensitize people on different issues and it leaves a long-lasting impact on people to think about relevant issues and inspires people to form their own conclusions. For this reason, theatre is an important device used for social change and development,” he said.
He said apart from that theatre provides a platform to discuss debate and contribute towards resolving important problems facing a community.
Matukuta revealed that they received applications from 15 countries across the globe but not even a single application came from Malawi.
“We didn’t manage to take them all on board because of financial problems. But despite not receiving applications from Malawi, we still have a line-up which has Malawian artists,” he said.
Some of the artists set to perform at the festival from Malawi this year include Solomonic Peacocks, Young Travellers Theatre, Jacaranda Cultural Troupe, DikamawokoArts, Chichiri Prison Cultural Troupe, Nkhokwe Arts, Robert and Joshua, Ching’aning’ani and Chigamba, Kevin Troughton, Saints Drama, poets Sylvester Kalizang’oma, Yankho Seunda, Joseph Madzedze, Luckier Chikopa, Babangoni and Frank Atcheya Naligonje.
Internationally, the artists performing this year are Nobody Studios from India, Theater Afrika from Konstanz in Germany and Ngami Arts from Botswana.
“If resources permit we might add one or two artists from Mzuzu or Lilongwe. We have also included schools on the line up. Schools from Blantyre such as St Andrews High School, Chichiri Primary School, Jacaranda School for Orphans, Njamba Secondary School and Chichiri Secondary School,” Matukuta said.
He said as they look forward to the main event, they would be holding a number of build-up activities.
“We are having Young Travellers this coming Saturday, Robert and Joshua on February 15 and Nkhokwe Arts on March 14, 2020. All these activities will take place at Jacaranda Cultural Centre. We would like to thank and appreciate the support from Jacaranda Cultural Centre, Maison de la France, Hannover City Council and Theater Afrika for putting up resources together for this year’s festival,” Matukuta said.