Upile Drama Group makes a comeback


Upile Drama Group, which was a force in the theatre circles in the past years especially drama in Chichewa, before going silent, is now seeking to bring its name back on the scene.

Unlike drama in English, which still has the numbers on the ground and has seen several groups staging plays, it has been a different story with drama in Chichewa where Kwathu Drama Group has led the way.

With issues of funding affecting many drama groups, taking them off the line, Kwathu has stood the test of time in drama in Chichewa and continues its journey since it took off in the 1980s.


But Upile Drama Group, while admitting that funding has been one of their biggest challenges keeping them off the stage, are now determined to stay on course.

“We have to admit things have not been that rosy for us especially funding. In the past years it was very easy to hold performances but these days you have to cough up more for a venue and then you also need to invest a lot of money for the play,” said one of the group’s members Shadreck Jumaina.

Nicknamed Atate for his acting prowess, Jumaina said yesterday that they were making a strong comeback.


“We are ready and this is not a short appearance but we are here to stay now. We are excited with the Superior Drama competition that has come up and will help revive theatre. We actually had time to stage our performance,” Jumaina said.

The group has since announced that they will stage their play Zingatiwonekere at Blantyre Cultural Centre on Sunday.

However, with several other events in Blantyre. including the Utsi Tuluka Gospel show at BAT Ground just a few kilometers from Blantyre Cultural Centre, they are likely to face competition in terms of the audience.

According to Jumaina, this is an old production but they decided to stage it again because it has issues relevant to what is happening in the society now.

“This is a play was written by Ben Maluwasa and we staged it in 2000 but we feel the issues therein are relevant now where people can learn one or two lessons,” Jumaina said.

He said after Zingatiwonekere, they will be coming out with a new production which is already in the pot.

“We already have a new play Mbiri Nja Khoswe but we thought we should bring out this old play first and then we stage the new piece. We just want to call upon people to support us by patronising our events because we cannot do without them,” said the actor.

He then hailed the corporate world for their support.

“The corporate world is now coming up and supporting us although we still need more. For this event we have received support from various companies among them Universal Trading and Company, Bayethe Naturals and Vanzara Brothers,” he said.

Jumaina said they are planning a countrywide tour but was quick to say that this will depend on funding.

Some of the actors starring in Zingandiwonekere are Sherry Sinoya, Amin Balala, Milika Banda, Steven Chisale, Jumaina and Maureen Tepeka.

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