Thursday November 23 2017

Kampala International Theatre Festival opens in style

Scenes from the play 'Strings' that was staged

Scenes from the play 'Strings' that was staged on the opening night of the Kampala International Theatre Festival. Photo by Tony Mushoborozi 

By Tony Mushoborozi

The opening act at the Kampala International Theatre Festival was worth the standing ovation it received. The Ugandan play, ‘Strings’, written and directed by Angella Emurwon, ticked so many boxes for the audience.

The play is about a family that tries to prepare for the imminent return of a man that has been working in ‘outside’ countries for 20 years. The changes that this imminent return portends are both exciting and depressing at the same time.

‘Strings’ is a well-thought out story that investigates the complex soul ties that develop between people that share common kindred. Whatever happens to one person affects all somehow. The ties that develop between you and your kindred somehow indirectly control you, whether you like it or not and sometimes you might want to lose something and keep it at the same time. The good old eating your cake and having it too.

“I was trying to investigate how people deal with the changes that happen in their circles,” playwright Emurwon said, adding, “I am excited to launch my play here because I started writing it during the first Kampala International Theatre Festival in 2014.” The Ugandan born playwright won the 2012 BBC International Playwriting Competition, English as a second language category.

The Kampala International Theatre Festival opened yesterday, November 22, for its fourth edition at The Square in Industrial area, and will go on till Sunday November 26. The Square is a new arts center located on 3rd street Industrial area in Kampala.
Deborah Asiimwe Kawe, one of the artistic directors said at the opening ceremony; “this festival was initiated to connect playwrights, actors and directors from East Africa to the rest of the world, to build a community of theatre practitioners and broaden access to extraordinary works of theatre.”

This year, the countries represented include; Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Bulgaria, China, USA and Uganda.
On top of performances of various kinds, other activities in the festival include acting classes and directing classes, among others. The trainers are experienced and exposed artists of high caliber in their respective fields.

Notable among them is a young American director from New York City called Christopher Betts. The 26-year-old worked on the movie Moonlight, which won an Oscar for best picture last year. Now that’s the kind of spring that’s worth drinking from.

Ugandans in all sorts of creative fields stand to learn a lot from this Festival that will go on till Sunday. A full festival pass goes for 50k while daily tickets go for 20K. Students tickets are for 10k.