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Theatre body brings international festival

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In its quest to propel theatre and keep the industry vibrant, National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) is this year introducing an annual international festival.

This year, the festival will be held on December 1 to 4 in Blantyre and will bring on board several acts both local and international.

Ntam President Maxwell Chiphinga, commonly known as Max DC, said Thursday the international festival was a proper channel to announce to theatre lovers out there that “they exist and that theatre is here to reclaim its glory”.

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“A lot has been said about theatre losing its glory and, so, we are saying theatre is there and we want to keep the groups active, hence bringing the international festival where, apart from performances, we will also have awards. We will be holding a press conference later to announce the venue and groups performing at the international festival this year,” Chiphinga said.

Meanwhile, ahead of the international festival, chapters will hold festivals as part of warm up, with Southern Region chapter holding its two-day event starting Saturday through to Sunday at Jacaranda Cultural Centre in Blantyre.

“These chapter festivals are warm ups for the international festival. It will be this way every year for all regions. This will be a yearly event for the regions before going for the international showdown,” Chiphinga said.

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Other stakeholders have since hailed the move.

“Groups have been rehearsing ahead of the festival and we call upon people to come and embrace the performances on Saturday and Sunday. We can only succeed when people patronise this festival,” Twaya, of Pamodzi Travelling Theatre, said.

The first day will see performances from Tauka Arts, Pamodzi Travelling Theatre, Young Travellers Theatre, Logos Theatre and Judges Dance Troupe with the second day featuring Ng’oma Arts, YDC Theatre, Upile Drama Group, Emancipation Theatrical Ensemble and Dikamawoko Arts.

In another development, Association of the Teaching of English in Malawi (Atem) has embarked on capacity building seminars for English drama patrons in divisions.

Atem President Dave Mpaso said Thursday the capacity building seminars were in preparation for the drama festival which is set to take place next term.

“So far, the divisions that have done their seminars are Northern Region Education Division, Central East Education Division and South East Education Division. South West Education Division is doing it today (Wednesday) and tomorrow (Thursday). Next week we are to have Central West Education Division seminar,” Mpaso, who has hinted at bowing out next year to concentrate on other issues, said.

He said the seminars were being held with a grant they received from Hornby Trust.

“Tentatively, we are planning to have the festival in February next year,” Mpaso said.

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