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‘The Tempest’ takes shape in UK

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Kate Stafford, director of William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest to be staged in United Kingdom featuring British and Malawian artists, has said rehearsals are going on well and that they are looking forward to performances.

The four Malawian artists starring in the play are Ben Mankhamba, Robert Magasa, Joshua Bhima and Stanley Mambo.

“The collaboration between British and Malawian artists is really exciting and creative, we are working hand in hand in coming up with some really exciting stuff,” Stafford said.

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Stafford has directed the play, designed by Hazel Albarn.

She said, by bringing together artists from Africa and Europe, Bilimakhwe Arts is using the best from both continents to entertain and move audiences.

Stafford, who has also directed several productions in the country with Nanzikambe Arts, described the play as powerful, passionate and magical.

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Other productions that Bilimakhwe has done featuring Malawian actors include And Crocodiles Are Hungry At Night and Romio Ndi Julieti.

Bhima said recently that they were happy to be part of the cast of The Tempest.

“We will be here for two months and we are excited to be part of the cast. This tells a story that Malawi has talent,” Bhima said.

The Tempest is a play by Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1610 and 1611, and thought by many critics to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone.

It is set on a remote island, where the sorcerer Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using illusion and skilful manipulation.

This is a gripping comedy of magic, love and redemption. The sorcerer Prospero and his teenage daughter Miranda are exiled on a strange magical island.

The choreography in the play has been done by Shyne Phiri while live music is by Mankhamba, who is now Village Headman Chingalire.

The cast has Christopher Brand, who plays Prospero while Cassandra Hercules stars as Miranda with Magasa and Bhima playing Ariel.

Mambo, has been vibrant in Lilongwe, propelling theatre and other artistic events through Madsoc Theatre stars Caliban.

The other actors are Reice Weathers (Ferdinand), Victoria Jeffrey (Trinculo) and Benedict Martin ( Stephano).

The translations have been made by renowned poet Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa.

The 15 venue national tour opens at Greenwich Theatre London on September 27 through to September 30.

The play will also be staged at Tonbridge on October 2, Maidenhead on October 3 and Bury St Edmunds on October 4.

There will also be performances in Birmingham, Luton, Tottenham, and Doncaster, with the last show on October 27 in Nottingham.

Stafford said, if they manage to get funds, they can bring the play to Malawi.

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