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No activities for World Theatre Day

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By Sam Banda Jnr:

There are no activities in the theatrical circles in the country today as the world celebrates World Theatre Day today.

The country has been poor as regards celebrating such commemorations and this was also noted during the World Poetry Day which falls on March 21 every year.

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The World Theatre Day comes barely seven days after the world celebrated the World Theatre Day for Children and, in the country, the day went silently.

Efforts to talk to National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) President Eric Mabedi proved futile Tuesday.

However, Mabedi has always insisted that theatre needs more support and that the corporate world, the government and other well-wishers have to support the industry which has shown potential.

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The industry has of late not been that vibrant, with many drama groups failing to hold performances due to inadequate support.

Some drama groups have tried their level best to propel theatre and they include Kwathu Drama Group which has carried the banner as far as drama in Chichewa is concerned.

Theatre was on top of the game during the times of theatre maestro Du Chisiza Jr, who wrote several plays and entertained people through his Wakhumbata Ensemble Theatre (Wet).

Her daughter, Doreen Chisiza, who is based in United States of America recently celebrated her father’s life and exploits holding shows in Lilongwe and Blantyre by staging one of his productions De Summer Blow.

“We will see what we can do but I have plans to be celebrating my father’s work every year,” Doreen said.

Du would have been celebrating his birthday yesterday. He was born on March 26 1963 and died on February 24 1999.

“I am happy with the path theatre has taken this year. I have watched a few great performances, which I feel the groups did their homework. I see a future shaping up for theatre in the country. The major challenge I have seen is the lack of reading culture hence we are stuck with the same stuff,” actor Bright Tchayatchaya, said Tuesday.

Solomonic Peacocks Director McArthur Matukuta, whose group hosts the Easter Theatre Festival next month said, theatre players need to be on toes to celebrate such days.

“We need to utilise these platforms. As actors and actresses and theatre industry in general we need to take note of our day and make sure that we come out with activities so as to make noise on what we do and how important the industry is,” Matukuta said.

World Theatre Day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI). It is celebrated annually on March 27 by ITI Centres and the international theatre community.

Various national and international theatre events are organised to mark this occasion and one of the most important of these is the circulation of the World Theatre Day International Messages through which at the invitation of ITI, a figure of world stature shares his or her reflections on the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace.

The first World Theatre Day International Message was written by Jean Cocteau (France) in 1962.

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