KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
ASSITEJ Zambia has submitted four productions for consideration at the forthcoming ASSITEJ International 19th World Congress and Festival to be hosted by ASSITEJ South Africa in Cape Town next year.
The productions are Panali Panali by Dinaledi Expressions; Crossing the Borders, a music-and-dance exploration of girl initiation; The Stolen Innocence, a play by Munali Theatre which highlights the plight of vulnerable children and Maloza the Man Cub.
Maloza the Man Cub is a collaboration involving Young and Firm, a University of Zambia theatre outfit, Mthunzi Theatre of Lusaka, and an Italian theatre company, La Baracca Teatro Testoni.
Maloza the Man Cub is a stage adaptation of Rudyard Kiplingâ€™s Jungle Book. The adaptation was done by Cheela Chilala and Bruno Capagli of La Baracca who is also the main director of the play.
â€œASSITEJ Zambia is hopeful that at least one of the four Zambian productions will be selected for the world festival,â€ ASSITEJ Zambia president Cheela Chilala told the Weekend Mail in Lusaka.
The four productions were identified in March when ASSITEJ, which focuses on theatre for children and young people, joined other centres worldwide in commemorating the World Day of Theatre for Young Audiences.
The international theme of the event was Take a child to the theatre today!
â€œASSITEJ Zambia, however, also focused its activities on rights of the child internationally and nationally â€“ including the right to education, the right to freedom of expression, the right to shelter, the rights, to religion and cultural expression, among others,â€ Chilala says.
The event, which was held at Pakachele School in Lusakaâ€™s Foxdale area, was commemorated with poetry, dance, song and theatrical pieces from members of ASSITEJ Zambia.
Last Saturday, the ASSITEJ commemorated the Day of the African Child at Arcades Mall in Lusaka. The performances, in drama, poetry, dance and music, was themed on the rights of the child. ASSITEJ Zambia now plans to host the countryâ€™s first theatre festival involving theatre groups which professionally perform for children.
This is part of the associationâ€™s continued efforts of restructuring and the build-up to participate in the 2017 World Congress and Festival in Cape Town.
Otherwise, ASSITEJ Zambia has been involved in a number of activities since the beginning of the year.
â€œFirst, it has continued with its restructuring programme which has been on for over two years now. One of the things that will change is the administrative structure of the association, which will see it run by a board arrangement rather than an executive committee arrangement,â€ Chilala says.
â€œThis in part is intended to enhance efficiency and to reduce administrative costs. Under the new arrangement, for instance, board members will be sponsored by the member organisations they represent, not by the association or the board. Participation in the AGM or convention will also be funded by member organisations.â€
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka