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Theatre gives voice to community arts clubs

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Community arts clubs form arginalised groups on Saturday proved that theatre was one of the important channels in disseminating information when they tackled various issues affecting them in their plays.

The groups might have not been all that perfect on stage, but they voiced out their challenges in their plays staged at Blantyre Cultural Centre.

Despite being free, the event suffered a setback as it attracted low patronage.

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There were rains which came later on as the plays progressed and this might have kept some people off.

However, the few that came enjoyed the performances.

The Community Arts Clubs were trained by Nanzikambe Arts and Culture for Positive Change with funding from Hivos through the Cultural Fund Malawi before creating their plays.

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Before the Community Arts Clubs took to the stage, Nanzikambe — featuring experienced actors such as Thlupego Chisiza and Mphundu Mjumira— warmed the stage with a burns and scalds prevention play.

It was a play that took the audience to Chief Kwadza’s Village which has many cases of burns and these cases involve children under the age of five.

Through the play, Nanzikambe promotes burns prevention and appropriate first aid for burns.

“It’s been great, especially reaching out to a different audience with the message. Actually, as an actor, I take this issue seriously because my child died because of burns so it is important for parents to make sure they protect their children,” Chisiza said.

He also said he was happy to see talent from Community Arts Clubs excelling.

Nanzikambe’s Patuma Denja and Gloria Chimwaza, who have been involved in the project ,called upon people to support the Community Arts Clubs initiative, which, they said, was benefiting marginalised groups.

“It’s been an exciting afternoon. Of course, we would have loved to have more people but, as you can see, there are rains so this might have kept some people away. But we would like to thank those who came to support us,” Denja said.

Chimwaza observed that many people, especially the marginalised , lack platforms to tell their stories and that they succeeded to do that on Saturday.

“These initiatives need to be supported. You saw women, orphans and some people with physical challenges showing their skills through drama but also using it to speak about the various challenges they face,” Chimwaza said.

Random interviews with some of the women showed that they are fully equipped now with acting skills.

Mpemba Reformatory Centre Community Arts Club staged their play titled The Ill-treated Orphan.

Young aspiring women actors staged their play titled The Forced Marriage and it tells the story of a very beautiful but young girl named Belita, who is forced into marriage by her parents.

There were also plays that came from Vulnerable Women Community Arts Club and Disabled group.

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