BULAWAYO’S Bambelela Theatre Arts Ensemble will be the star attraction at the Inxusa theatre festival and World Theatre Day Colloquium where they will premier their play The Civil Servant.
The premier at Amakhosi Cultural Centre on March 27 will be held under the theme “Merging Cultures”.
This year Inxusa Theatre Festival and World Theatre Day Colloquium will run from March 25 to 27 in Bulawayo.
University of Bostwana professor David Kerr is expected to present a keynote theatre address.
“A new play by a Bulawayo-based theatre company, playwright and director is selected to premier on the World Theatre Day night as part of celebrating the art of theatre with the rest of the world,” Amakhosi director Cont Mhlanga said yesterday.
Bambelela is a full time community theatre group based organisation.
It was formed in 1992 in Matshobana suburb of Bulawayo. In the past the ensemble has produced such plays as By Roadside, The Naked Truth, Silent Screams and Wish List among others Bambelela has represented Zimbabwe on the international stage at foras such as the Sadc Multi-Arts Disciplinary Festival.
In Zimbabwe they have graced almost all the festivals since their inception.
The ensemble has won several local and international awards including United Nations Development Programme’s Poverty Alleviation Award.
The ensemble has enjoyed several nominations for the National Arts Merit Awards. Bulawayo playwright Thabani Hillary Moyo wrote and directs the The Civil Servant.
“The Civil Servant is the story of Elton who when faced with imminent retirement from the public service comes to realise the truth that he has failed to achieve his dreams,” Mhlanga said.
“He becomes paranoid and irritable. All he can show for his 37 years of service are invalid insurance policies that expired due to currency devaluation and ultimate demise.
“What also compounds the situation are his two sons — Elvis and Themba — failing to make a mark in life.
“Elton dreads the coming back of the Zimbabwe dollar which is rumoured to be on its way back. He fears that his retirement package might come in the form of a ‘dead currency’.”
Mhlanga added: “To save himself from this predicament and in the process do his failed sons a favour Elton decides to commit suicide so that his sons can get his package in the US$.
“Maybe that is what happens when a man doesn’t have a grip on the forces of life.
“It is after his funeral that is wife Khaya comes to realise that being a civil servant is a thankless job because not many people attended his funeral as it had been hoped.”
Moyo graduated at the University of Zimbabwe in 1995 with a Theatre Arts degree.
He has been a drama teacher at Eveline High School and has written several children’s plays and is actively involved with The Live Literature Project aimed at performing literature texts for ‘A’ and ‘O’ Level students.
Under the project he has directed classics like The Lion and The Jewel by Wole Sonyika, A Doll’s House by Hendrick Ibsen and She No Longer Weeps by Tsitsi Dangarembwa.
In 2012 he wrote, directed and produced The Immigrants which premiered during Intwasa Arts Festival in the same year and went to be part of the Harare International Festival of the Arts programme in March 2014.
He is currently employed by Laway Arts SA under the project Ncathathu.
Tickets for The Civil Servant are $3. Registration for the World Theatre Day Colloquium is now open at $15 per participant and closes on March 20.