By Tafadzwa Mpofu
Arts education organisation, Chipawo, will on March 22 mark a milestone in its journey by holding three major events at Theatre in the Park in Harare.
The organisation is set to unveil its first full time professional youth theatre company called New Horizon Youth Theatre, premiere the company’s first play titled ‘Rudo neRunyararo’, and announce Chipawo’s involvement in the international CUSP (Culture for Sustainable and Inclusive Peace) project.
An adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by renowned thespians Peter Churu and Robert Mshengu Kavanagh, ‘Rudo neRunyararo’ is set in a small town in Zimbabwe and is acted in Shona.
It centres on the feuds and animosities between the mayor, a local bus company owner and their families. The squabbles even involve domestic conflicts, leading to inevitable tragedy, which opens their eyes and those of the community to the futility of their enmity and the need for reconciliation.
The play will run from March 22 to April 1 2023 at Theatre in the Park, a popular arts venue nestled in the Harare Gardens.
Although it is finally being launched as a full-time professional theatre company, New Horizon Youth Theatre has been in existence since 2003.
In their 20-year existence, the company has performed in several venues in Harare at places such as Reps Theatre and in numerous other cities and towns all over Zimbabwe.
Their major plays include ‘Vicious’ (2003) an SJ Chifunyise masterpiece about middle class poverty, ‘Soul Sister Comes to Africa’ (2004) also by Chifunyise, ‘The Little Man of Murewa’ (2005) adapted from Hans Christian Andersen’s story ‘Little Claus and Big Claus’, which premiered at HIFA and in Denmark.
Other works include ‘A Journey to Yourself’, adapted from Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen’s play ‘Peer Gynt’, which premiered at HIFA; a dramatisation of Charles Mungoshi’s classic novel ‘Waiting for the Rain’; Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘The Post Office’ (2010); ‘The Most Wonderful Thing of All’, based on Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ (2010), The Gaza Monologues (2011) with Ashtar Theatre in Palestine; Calderon della Barca’s ‘The Dream of Life’, translated in Shona as ‘Mutambo Wepanyika’; and more recently Lu Xun’s ‘The True Story of Ah Q’ , which ran for a week at the Jason Mpepo Theatre in Harare.
CUSP is an international programme, hosted by the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Other participants include Litfest in Harare, Ghana, Mexico, Morocco, Palestine and Scotland. It aims to explore ways of resolving conflicts and initiating reconciliation and transformation through the arts.
With the New Horizon Youth Theatre Centre (NHYTC) as hub, four organisations will devise ways and means of using the arts to discuss and help reconcile conflict in the community.