The project is an ambitious four-stage programme culminating in a high profile production that we hope will tour internationally. The project will build sustainable links between people and arts organisations throughout Zimbabwe by providing training, apprenticeships and performance opportunities.
All the productions we will support and develop will be based on local issues, such as political or social unrest, employment, health issues, or war. Following initial rehearsal periods, these productions will be performed around the country. Our plays become a focal point for the exchange of knowledge, skills and ideas. Paramount is a commitment to working with local education and aid organisations, and facilitating drama workshops in schools and community centres. We will also help train Zimbabweans to teach drama skills to younger children (8 – 15) in local schools thereby acting as significant role-models to a younger generation. By sending out a number of experienced professionals from the UK, Developing Artists hope the project will promote the highest standards of theatre practice and management.
Key to the project is the involvement of local people in other aspects of the productions. Whether they be story-tellers, writers, actors, musicians, producers, technicians, dancers or promoters, Developing Artists will be as inclusive as possible, thereby enabling the whole creative community to collaborate, explore and learn new techniques and skills through the staging of theatrical productions. The project will directly involve hundreds of local people, and thousands more will participate through workshops and as audience members.
In the due course Developing Artists will look to extend this model to neighbouring African countries where the charity has established partnerships. See the video below for our work in Zimbabwe last year.
STAGE 1: APRIL 2013
"It is vital at this time that Zimbabwe retains creative connection with the rest of the world. The work of Developing Artists is essential in maintaining this connection."
Manuel Bagorro, Director of The Harare International Festival of the Arts
Giles Ramsay, the founder of Developing Artists, will return to Zimbabwe to direct the third play written by Developing Artists' Apprentice Blessing Hungwe. This will be a co-production with The British Council.
Following three weeks of intense rehearsal, this production will open in May at The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA)before touring to communities as diverse as Chitungwiza (a high-density township which was the first area to be hit by the 2009 cholera epidemic), rural Kariba, and Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo. In a country where the arts have been heavily censored and suppressed for the past two decades, this is a major undertaking.
This stage follows on from a string of successful projects in recent years, including a full stage production of Oedipus Tyrannus (which employed 40 local actors and creatives) at the height of the country's political and economic turmoil in 2009, Burn Mukwerekwere Burn in 2011, and When Angels Weep in 2012. Further information on these projects is available on our website.
STAGE 2: JULY 2013
Two practitioners from The National Theatre will visit Zimbabwe together with Gary Sparkes, the former Head of Technical at The National Theatre. The two from The National Theatre Studio will run a week of workshops covering all aspects of directing and performance, whilst Gary will run a Stage Management course, covering everything from drawing up a workable rehearsal schedule to contracts. Working with local artists they will create four ten minute pieces within the week, each in a different theatrical style - scripted, improvised, verbatim, physical etc. These plays will be performed in The Theatre in the Park, Harare.
Through these workshops the participants will learn and further their understanding of the many creative elements necessary for creating a play, together with the administrative skills needed for their staging.
Whilst in Zimbabwe the National Studio team will also mentor selected writers and identify local talent.
STAGE 3: SEPTEMBER 2013
In collaboration with Age Exchange, David Savill and Malcolm Jones, specialists in reminiscence theatre as well as in inter-generational and inter-cultural theatre projects, will visit Zimbabwe.
They will spend two weeks in the country and work with a group of 15 selected artists from Bulawayo to create a new play that will be presented at the Intwasa Festival which runs from the 24th to the 29th September. This production will then tour the country.
STAGE 4: JANUARY – APRIL 2014
Nicolas Kent, former artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre, will visit Zimbabwe to work with talented artists who have been identified in the previous three stages. They will create and devise a theatre piece to be staged at HIFA in May 2014. The production will then be toured internationally, creating a springboard for the artists involved and highlighting the richness of the Zimbabwe cultural scene.
• Identify and encourage the development of artists and theatre professionals, providing them with opportunities to access the international stage.
• Bring professional theatre practices to communities in Zimbabwe.
• Build a sustainable community arts projects through a network of artists, tutors and arts organisations.
• Deepen the existing relationship between theatre practitioners in Zimbabwe, and the international network of artists connected to Developing Artists.
• Share on the world stage the diversity and talent of artists from Zimbabwe
• Share practical skills ranging from directing, design and acting methods to technical, marketing and budgeting practices.
• Create a number of international training opportunities through Developing Artists' Apprenticeship Scheme thus enhancing people's skills and their international contact base.
• Create a genuinely hybrid production combining Western and local theatre skills.
• Provide theatre and drama workshops throughout the country.
• To facilitate local educational and aid organisations in using drama techniques within existing social and health programmes.
• A dynamic and exciting series of productions that will serve to both entertain and educate people in a country where the arts have often been censored and suppressed.
• The release of previously untold stories and memories from local people through the use of drama-workshops and rehearsals.
• A series of theatre workshops in schools and colleges in some of the most deprived communities in the country.
• The development of a sustainable practice of teamwork and self-discipline through theatre practice, thereby enhancing self-confidence and improving communication skills.
• The development and sharing of a structure for the formation of community theatre groups.
• The provision of opportunities for local artists to earn a living from touring the productions both within their own country and abroad.
• To expand participants' creative and practical horizons, thereby generating a greater sense of community and citizenship.
• The creation of a number of international Apprenticeships for arts training.
See our video below which details our work in Zimbabwe in 2012.
For further information on the project please contact firstname.lastname@example.org