Youth Theatre Progress – An Overview

0
14

By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK THANKS to the financial support of the Finnish embassy in the amount of N$220 000, Assitej-Namibia was able to successfully implement three major theatre projects this year. This was said in an interview by the chairperson of Assitej-Namibia, David Ndjavera, in an Art/Life interview. “With consistent hard work by two specially appointed theatre workshop facilitators the organization has achieved unmatched successes with regard to the establishment of formal community-based centres in six new Namibian towns. Each centre now has its own committee to run its affairs and keep rural theatre alive. More than 600 new rural young people have joined the theatre movement towards the long term goals of establishing a national structure,” Ndjavera, also announcing that the organisation of theatre for children and young people has now more than 2 600 members and the number is still growing, said. According to him the flame of Namibian youth theatre is now really burning high and should be encouraged at all costs. “Also six other new centres have been identified in the South to be worked on in 2006: Karasburg, Gibeon, Schlip, Gochas, Berseba and Warm Bad. Should we be able to secure the necessary funding we will then have a much more representative structure with 18 centres countrywide,” he asserted. In his view the annual youth theatre festival received greater impetus and recognition to be carried forward towards a more national character next year. “We see the festival as the basis of all youth theatre activity in the country with regard to playwriting and acting. It serves as the nucleus to showcase writing and acting talents for the past 22 years and will hopefully continue to be just that, if financially supported,” the actor-cum-playwright said. His organisation is planning to accommodate the six self-created plays by the six newly created centres in the 2006 youth theatre festival in a category of its own. “The idea is to bring the six groups to the capital for formal participation in the festival’s schools section as part of the main festival. The six works will be formally judged by independent adjudicators. This incorporation of rural theatre is aimed at streamlining theatre development in the country as well as ensure greater participation on a national level,” the chairperson said in a theatre activity overview interview. The winning play of this year’s festival, My Children. My Africa, was successfully performed 10 times reaching 3 000 youths and adults alike in all the centres where it was performed. “These performances served its primary educational purpose and function of constantly feeding the existing centres with theatre on an ongoing basis,” he said. In a written overview it is also mentioned that Assitej-Namibia was privileged to have hosted an international theatre-writing workshop in early November this year. “This important workshop, attended by more than 20 participants and facilitators from African countries, Sweden and Finland was an undeniable stimulating and intellectual experience of a kind seldom experienced anywhere on the African continent. Lasting creative theatre writing networking ties have been established among the participants,” the overview stated. It went on, stating: “As a sequel to this workshop individual playwrights are presently writing one-person AIDS plays to be submitted for acceptance and streamlining at the next African regional meeting in Zanzibar in February 2006. Those works found to be creatively acceptable will be encouraged to be performed in the respective African countries where AIDS is rife.”