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‘Theatre is not dead in Malawi’

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Actor Mphundu Mjumira has said theatre in the country is not dead as some quarters frequently put it.

The Blantyre-based renowned actor, who has just stitched a new play My Time Is…. Yatha insisted yesterday that the industry was trying its level best but there was little support on the ground.

“Let me say it again that theatre is not dead. Those who have been saying this have not even made attempts to watch plays that are being staged. What I can say at the moment is that theatre is very expensive,” Mjumira said.

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He defended the industry, saying it is doing its best in its struggles and that the groups are trying hard.

“It’s expensive to put up productions these days and drama groups are struggling but in their struggles they are making attempts,” Mjumira, who premiered My Time Is…. Yatha last Friday in Mzuzu said.

“There is talent in the country but how do you progress when there is no support. Theatre is not given the attention it deserves and yet it has a very big role to play in the development of the country,” Mjumira said.

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He said theatre was not only there to offer entertainment but also help people change for the better.

“There is a lot that theatre can do but we need funders to come out. For now, we are being sidelined,” Mjumira said.

The actor last year shined, playing a lead role in the play Fear Eats the Soul, a collaboration play between Nanzikambe Arts and German group Theater Konstanz.

On his latest two act play, which stars Maxwell Makande and Felistus Kamuloni, Mjumira said they received an overwhelming response in Mzuzu during the premiere.

“The support we received in Mzuzu was overwhelming. People loved the story,” he said.

Mjumira said My Time Is— Yatha is a play that tackles issues that people are experiencing.

“Through this play, we want to teach people that we have a duty to make this world a better place to live in. We are looking at relationships in the family, groups and workplace, among others.

“You will notice that we spend much time arguing on things that do not matter and the results are the conflicts and wars on the ground. But this can only be solved if we take time to discuss and understand each other,” he said.

The actor said there is a need to make the world a better place to live in and that leaders should be responsible.

Mjumira said, after the premiere in Mzuzu, the play will be staged in Blantyre and a few other places before being taken on a European tour.

“We would like to thank Theater Konstanz for the support and Theatre for Africa for working tirelessly in organising the European tour,” he said.

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