By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK His long-term aims for the National Theatre of Namibia include transforming it into a more representative institution for the active promotion of the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the nation at large over the next five years. This is a declared intent from the newly appointed general manager of NTN, Werner Tsaniseb, during an Art/Life interview in his office on Tuesday. The former museum and heritage expert took over the reigns at the NTN more than 10 days ago. “Many managers and directors have over the past 15 years run the National Theatre of Namibia by way of their own visions and business criteria. With this in mind I have decided to try and turn things around a bit to make it a more representative organisation. Me and my staff are aiming at redefining our mission as well as the existing programmes,” Tsaniseb said. He indicated that there are many artists and even members of the public that do not have very negative views and opinions of the NTN due to misinformation. “Me and my team will rectify the situation in the interest of theatre development in the country as a whole. Obviously we will need much more money to implement programmes of national interest. Many productions performed at NTN in the past have in many respects never provided for the specific needs of the theatre fraternity because in most cases neither artists nor the public could relate to these performances,” he said. Tsaniseb intends to design a more balanced programme for the year to cater for entertainment as well as serious theatre. “We have to start catering for the cultural needs of the emerging middle class people from among the previously marginalised communities. There is a definite need and a vacuum for that. Our people need to get more involved in theatre development efforts. Presently a process is under way to revamp the theatre structure’s restaurant, a potential platform for intellectual and creative get-togethers in order to stimulate interest,” he said. He also expressed great concern for the fact that the youth had been left out and were too neglected to get involved in NTN programmes. “The youth is rightfully angry and should be brought more tangibly into the theatre equation through the provision of more opportunities and platforms for creative skills development efforts. The youth feel they have been abandoned. We intend to accommodate them probably with reduced rates for theatre rentals, etc. To achieve this we will need to bring in government and the private sector on a stronger level, as well as pool resources from among the existing theatre, arts and culture promoting bodies,” he urged. Tsaniseb is confident that he will be able to bridge the gap between existing bodies by increasing partnerships for more effective theatre development.
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