Nanzikambe Arts is expected to perform in Scotland in August this year.
Nanzikambe Executive Director, Chris Nditani, confirmed the development when highlighting some of their 2018 plans as well as the success stories in 2017.
“On 2018 issues, we are looking at finalisation of new space development, continued implementation of four to five arts projects with funding support from different donors. Taking Nanzikambe Arts to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2018 and ensuring that the visit to Scotland is used as a fundraising platform for organisational stability,” Nditani said.
He added that Nanzikambe Arts is planning to resuscitate the Mwezi Wawala International Theatre Festival from 2019 onwards.
The Mwezi Wawala Festival has been out of the picture, prompting some quarters to say that it was dead.
He said Nanzikambe will also take part in civic and voter education exercises ahead of the 2019 tripartite elections.
With talk that theatre did not do enough in 2017, Nditani said Nanzikambe had registered success stories, citing, among others, development of its own space.
“The mere fact that we started construction and that some basic artistic undertakings are happening from the new space in Chimwankhunda Township is a great relief and a great sign of sustaining ourselves as an organisation,” he said.
Nditani said the continued existence of the Nanzikambe brand is good enough, as the organisation has kept people in employment over the one year period.
On potential challenges, Nditani said lack of a National Arts Council makes arts associations operate without any tangible operational framework.
“Cohesion is lacking and the issue is literally competing for resources from the Cultural Fund Malawi without any proper direction. This can be exemplified by the many clashes associated with the country’s arts festivals and the helplessness of the government on the same,” he said.
Nditani also said there were cases where artists, most of whom need to be managed, are trying to manage their own affairs and implement projects, efforts that are not sustainable.
On not doing enough in 2017, in terms of staging plays, Nditani said Nanzikambe’s mission is to ensure that the organisation employs core staff and attracts Malawi’s dynamic creative talents, ranging from actors, musicians, dancers, choreographers, craftsmen, designers and visual artists, among others.
“In total, Nanzikambe Arts has about 75 part time employees, across four projects, most of whom work in rural communities across Malawi on projects around governance, burns prevention and folktale adaptation,” Nditani said.
He said that in 2017 they worked with 40 artists to do interactive drama that directly reached out to over 65,000 people, mostly on the agenda of reduction of scalds and burns among children.
“Our mission is not merely grounded in production of stage drama but, rather, building the capacity of artists and communities, implementing interactive communication projects, performing inter-cultural high quality theatre and arts to diverse audiences to promote positive change,” Nditani said.
Apart from working on reducing burns and scalds in children in Malawi under a project worth $10,000, a pilot project on Malawi folktales adaptation and community arts clubs for marginalised groups, Nanzikambe also cemented their partnership with Theater Konstanz of Germany.
Nditani said they hosted a 20-man team which had a series of workshops and also staged a play Fear Eats the Soul with Nanzikambe’s Mphundu Mjumira playing the lead role.
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