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Arts Lab launch
November 27, 2011
All is set for
the launch of Arts Lab scheduled for Friday the 2nd of December
2011 at the Zimbabwe College of Music Great Hall and the 4th of
December 2011 at Girls High School. The show cast has also been
commissioned to present a performance at the Zimbabwe German Society
World AIDS Day commemorations set to take place at the Joina City
on the 14th floor on Saturday the 3rd of December. This will be
a busy weekend for Arts Lab which will perform at the College of
Music on Friday for a paying audience ($5) and also give a free
show for families in and around Harare at the Girls High School
on Sunday the 4th of the same weekend.
lovers in Harare are used to come for a show and watch a full story
plot, they will this time be in for a treat as they are set to see
a variety of short performances inspired by life's experiences.
From what we feel and see at a Doctor's appointment to the
hilarious lives of children at play, clowns at work, an attempt
at politics to our intimate and most private zone; our experiences
in our bedrooms particularly in our beds. This is portrayed in script,
mime and accompanied by vivid and abstract props and character attitudes
is Arts Lab?
Arts Lab is
a groundbreaking project run by the Savanna
Trust. Savanna Trust, a non-profit making organisation that
uses theatre for social change. Founded in 2006 the organisation
uses community theatre for development to engage grassroots communities
in various socio-political and economic issues.
project amongst many others that the Savannah Trust implements is
a leadership and diversification programme for performance artists
and institutions in Zimbabwe that provides training, a space to
create, a platform to showcase, models for diversifying income and
a framework to manage, promote and tour new work. In doing so the
programme's objectives are double barrelled. They are firstly
to build capacity in contemporary dance, visual physical theatre
and arts management, through training which is directly linked to
collaborative production and secondly to engage policy makers in
Zimbabwe through the productions created under this programme: to
use experience of all involved as the basis for analysis of challenges,
needs, gaps in the contemporary dance and theatre sectors in Zimbabwe.
Funded by The
British Council and The Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, the project
runs for eleven weeks and has recruited twenty six artists (11 females
15 males) with a mixed age group ranging from 20years to 46years.
Under the directorship of Melissa Eveleigh (artistic head of the
arts lab project), these artists produce splendid pieces of dance,
theatre, poetry, mime all fused together to present a unique, vivid
heart rending showcase that will leave the audience calling for
more; probably a result of the diverse backgrounds from which they
derive ranging from University theatre undergraduates, to musicians,
dancers and trained theatre practitioners from various theatre associations,
some of which include CHIPAWO,
New Horizon Theatre, Spear Theatre, Theory X, Tumbuka, UMOJA, College
of Music and their levels of professionalism are mirrored in the
fact that some of them have performed for productions that have
been cast at reputable platforms like Reps, Theatre in the Park,
Harare International Festival of the Arts and the Zimbabwe International
During the build
to this oncoming show, the cast held "sharing" platforms
every Friday where they invited creative performing arts practitioners,
directors, writers etc. to come and watch and assist with recommendations,
insights, criticisms and various commentaries on what they would
have seen and these are some of the sentiments of those who attended
the Friday sharings over the past month:
is creating a new form of performance that we have not had here
before in Zimbabwe. We are used to seeing the same kind of theatre
time and time again - but this goes to another place, beyond the
Maposa, Savannah Trust
myself in the piece about the bedroom. The personal and intimate
was brought out into the stage, and this is wonderful."
- Ignatius Mabasa, British Council
is so much talent in this group, and you're clearly enjoying
what you're doing, and if the performers enjoy the audience
will enjoy. It's marvellous to see!"
- Walter Mparutsa
arts scene needs this kind of initiative. We at ZITA and myself
as a theatre director, will benefit. I can already see such a progression
from the first week."
- Peter Churu, Zimbabwe Theatre Association
has gelled, grown together, is listening to each other on stage
- Rahim Solomon
is real social commentary, you are taking real issues and handling
them with a sensitive and light touch, that allows us to laugh.
And as Zimbabweans we need to laugh."
Hannah Hove, DED
is impressive. You express complex stories through the physical.
If the text were to meet this it would be on another level."
Berg, Norwegian female musician
going further and deeper in our storytelling to talk about sensitive
Feedback from performing artists, Arts Lab
are to have a successful performing arts academy in Zimbabwe, this
(Arts Lab) is the tool"
- Walter Muparutsa
Over the past
five weeks the general curriculum for these artists included basic
principles like build, tension, conflict, rhythm, space, character
through animal: observation and embodiment of nature, places and
people. A creative task meant to apply understanding of the concepts
was always given and this involved coming up with interesting scenes
most of which had been observed at public places like the market
place/shopping mall, parkade, garage, emergency taxi etc.
in the curriculum is essentialised story telling thus taking the
participants through a journey of elements that relate to melodrama,
tragic chorus and culminating into undertaking of tasks that involve
compressing famous films into 8 minutes performances in small designated
space. Performances relating to HIV/AIDS are introduced and there
is on-going rehearsal of selected work.
At the show
scheduled for the 2nd of December 2011 Arts Lab as part of its project
will showcase the performances and works of associated artists.
Confirmed to be showcased are the works of renowned visual artists
will also execute community outreach programmes where they shall
conduct a series of concurrent workshops (average once a week) with
community groups in disadvantaged areas. This shall be made possible
by collaborating with CHIPAWO and DTZ's outreach programme
already in place. Selected pieces will tour through Harare's
city is abuzz with this new oncoming theatre bomb about to explode
over the weekend with colourful posters and banners all over town.
People cannot wait to see beds set all over a floor at Joina City
and entertainment lovers cannot wait to see the likes of renowned
female guitarist Edith WeUtonga, musician and actor John Pfumojena,
Kidznet TV icon Tinevimbo Chimbetete, renowned choreography Gilbert
Douglas just to mention a few all in one cast. This is surely a
show NEVER to be missed.
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