By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK STAGE performances of Namibian plays at three international festivals are on the cards as part of Committed Artists of Namibia (CAN) and Assitej-Namibia’s theatre outreach programme for this year. “CAN has been invited to stage its knock-out one-woman play, The Porridge Queen, at the Harare International Festival in April and at the Grahams Town Arts Festival in South Africa in June this year,” said the organising secretary of Committed Artists of Namibia, actress Felicity Celento, in an Art/Life interview this week. In her view CAN is ready, poised and keen to professionally assist Assitej-Namibia, Organisation of Theatre for Children and Young People, with its annual educational theatre outreach programme. “CAN’s artistic director has been formally invited to attend a regional African seven-day youth theatre conference in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in March this year on behalf of both CAN and Assitej-Namibia in the furtherance of theatre development inside the country and in the region,” Celento, who is also an executive member of Assitej-Namibia, said. “We see the attendance of theatre workshops, seminars and conferences as a vital part of theatre development efforts of both our organisations that have been involved in theatre for more than two decades. “Our inputs on continental theatre outreach programmes are highly rated, respected, recognised and acclaimed at these international theatre forums,” she asserted. According to the organising secretary a one-man play, Living Hell, by Namibian playwright and actor Richard Swartz will be performed for the first time at the Finnish Bravo Festival in March this year. “Swartz’s theatre excursion is financed by the Finnish embassy in Windhoek. We see this theatre exchange as a vital part of our outreach programme. Whilst in Finland Swartz will be working with a local director to creatively improve his work that two years ago ended up as runner-up in the annual Youth Theatre Festival,” Celento said. Assitej-Namibia’s 2006 programme, which starts on February 1, caters for the establishment of six more town-based centres in Karasburg, LÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼deritz, Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Gibeon and Rehoboth this year. “Thanks to the Finnish embassy, Assitej-Namibia could last year establish six centres in the north of the country. These centres are now functionally operating under their own steam. Works produced with youth actors at these centres will this year in a special category take part in the annual Youth Theatre Festival, introducing a long awaited phase to make the event a truly national festival,” she said. Assitej-Namibia now has more than 3 000 members countrywide and the number is yearly growing.
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