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Easter Theatre Festival returns

ON THE LINE-UP—Chiphwanya (left) and Sasoka perform during the press conference Tuesday

After a two-year hiatus due to Covid, Easter Theatre Festival returns this year for its third edition to be held at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre, organisers announced during a press briefing Tuesday.

The festival, which is spearheaded by Solomonic Peacocks, will run from April 8 -10 2022 under the theme ‘Doing Theatre Unusual Way’.

With support from partners such as British Council of Wales, Hannover City Council and JCC and Maison de la France, the festival director McArthur Matukuta, who is also Solomonic Peacocks Director, said the budget for the festival was K5 million.

“We didn’t want to have a bloated budget and, with the K5 million, we hope to run a festival that will give people the best in theatre, poetry, drama, dance, comedy and other artistic disciplines and it is all about celebrating arts. The festival also offers a unique opportunity to people and artists to discuss different issues affecting society, network and also offer educational workshops to young people, students and artists,” Matukuta said.

He said they selected the theme ‘Doing Theatre Unusual Way’ to make it known that theatre is a career.

“We need to do theatre to earn a living, do theatre as a career and, so, we want to change people and artists’ mindsets that theatre is a business,” Matukuta said.

Having hosted close to 100 acts in 2019, the festival this year they will have over 25 acts including comedians Chiphwanya and Sasoka (Tame Mwawa and Mada Kamwendo), who performed during the event.

Matukuta said, as part of planting a seed of art in children, there would also be performances by students from schools.

Apart from several local acts in theatre and other disciplines set to perform, Matukuta said there will be collaborations of a theatre group from Germany known as Quatier and a group from Malawi and also Malawi and Wales.

JCC Director Luc Deschamps described Easter Theatre Festival as unique.

“The past two years, we have had few festivals, especially in Blantyre. Festivals were at the lake and not cities so I am also excited that we have collaborations between Europe and Malawi,” Deschamps said.

National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) President Maxwell Chiphinga, popularly known as Max DC, said the return of Easter Theatre Festival is a welcome development for Theatre and the creative industry.

“Theatre has suffered for the past two years with no performances due to covid. Theatre was in hibernation but now, with this festival, theatre life is coming back,” Chiphinga said.

He commended Solomonic Peacocks and partners for the initiative and called upon people to support and patronise the festival in April.

“Let us embrace this festival and give it all the support. As Ntam, we are also planning a national theatre festival in December but we will share details later,” Chiphinga said.

The festival debuted in 2015 at Blantyre Cultural Centre, formerly French Cultural Centre, attracting the presence of acts from Zambia including renowned comedians Bikiloni and Difikoti.

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