KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
PLAYWRIGHT, actor and director Eric Kasomo Jr is leading the nominations for the National Theatre Awards to be held next month in Lusaka.
After reviewing the nominations, after the actors objected to the initial list released by the Zambia Arts Adjudicators Panel (ZAAP) following the National Theatre Arts Association of Zambia (NATAAZ) festival in Kabwe a fortnight ago, new finalists have been officially named.
Eric, who directed Africa Directions at the festival, has three nominations – two for Best Script and one for Best Director. His outfit, Africa Directions, is also fairly dominant in the group awards alongside Nkwazi Theatre Club and Green Buffaloes.
His two scripts, Kingdom War, which was performed by Africa Directions, and Behind the Curtains (Green Buffaloes) are nominated for Best Script alongside Samuel Kasankha’s Bad Timing (NAPSA Theatre Club).
Eric is also in the running for Best Director alongside Francis Malunga (Nkwazi – Rituals) and Chama Chilufya (Green Buffaloes – Behind the Curtains).
After a review of the nominations, Dominic Sitamu is now unopposed for Best Cameo following his appearance in NAPSA Theatre Club’s Bad Timing.
For Best Actor, there is Bizwell Mudenda (Behind the Curtains – Green Buffaloes), Sunday Nyeleti (Kingdom War – Africa Directions) and Happy Simpokolwe (Rituals – Nkwazi) while Hawa Njovu (Kingdom War – Africa Directions), Mwimba Nsofu (Behind the Curtains – Green Buffaloes) and Blessings Luwisha (Wezi – GMZ) are nominated for Best Actress.
Acksed Sakala (Kingdom War – Africa Directions), Daniel Njovu (Behind the Curtains) and Aubrey Luo (ZANASE) are nominated for Best Supporting Actor, while Rhodah Tembo (Rituals – Nkwazi Theatre), Mirriam Zulu (Bad Timing – NAPSA Theatre) and Annie Ngulube (Behind the Curtains – Green Buffaloes) are competing for Best Supporting Actress.
In the group awards, Rituals – Nkwazi Theatre, Kingdom War – Africa Directions and Behind the Curtains – Buffaloes Theatre are nominated for Best Production while Best Set has Behind the Curtains (Green Buffaloes), Kingdom War (Africa Directions) and Rituals (Nkwazi Theatre).
Best Costume has Kingdom War (Africa Directions), Wezi (GMZ) and Behind the Curtains (Green Buffaloes), while Best Sound has Kingdom War (Africa Directions), Behind the Curtains (Green Buffaloes) and Rituals (Nkwazi Theatre).
NATAAZ chairman Boyd Chibale, who released the new list of nominations, also gave a background of what transpired at the festival.
He said on November 3, NATAAZ suspended all nomination results of the 2018 Senior Theatre Festival following concerns of alleged irregularities in the placement of nominations.
“The suspension was immediately followed by a call on the Zambia Arts Adjudicators Panel (ZAAP) to review the results and investigate the irregularities in the nominations. ZAAP obliged. In consultation, NATAAZ and ZAAP committed to reporting back on the matter within seven days,” Boyd said in a statement obtained by the Weekend Mail.
“NATAAZ is in receipt of a comprehensive report from ZAAP on the matter. All nominations were reviewed, and irregularities looked at, through a process of reviewing footage of the productions staged during the festival.
“In this regard, NATAAZ and ZAAP remain committed to ensuring that all adjudication processes of festivals and any other related theatre competitions are credible and comprehensive.
“All grievances arising from such processes will receive utmost attention. [We] Implore all participants to ensure that all scripts are submitted 14 days before any competition to allow for thorough understanding of the scripts.”
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka