Zimbabwe Theatre Academy Shines with NAMA Nominations: A Beacon of Hope for Local Theatre

Amid challenges, Zimbabwe Theatre Academy's innovative approach revitalizes the theatre scene, earning prestigious NAMA nominations.

by Adenike Adeodun

The Zimbabwe Theatre Academy, spearheaded by the celebrated theatre professional Lloyd Nyikadzino, has emerged as a shining beacon in the realm of performing arts, amidst a backdrop of challenges that have beset Zimbabwe’s mainstream theatre scene. Established with a mission to professionalize and rejuvenate theatre in Zimbabwe, the academy has made significant strides since its inception in October 2017. Starting with a modest cohort of 10 students at Reps Theatre in Belgravia, Harare, the academy has not only expanded its reach but has also garnered critical acclaim, as evidenced by its three nominations at the upcoming National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA).

The NAMAs, presented by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), are the country’s most prestigious accolades in the arts sector, designed to honor exceptional achievements. This year, the Zimbabwe Theatre Academy has been nominated for Outstanding Theatre Director (Lloyd Nyikadzino), Outstanding Theatre Actress (Nosizo Gumede for her role as Runyararo in “I AM/WAS MARAH”), and Outstanding Theatrical Production (“I AM/WAS MARAH” by Teddy Mangawa). These nominations are a testament to the academy’s commitment to fostering talent, promoting innovative storytelling, and elevating the standards of theatrical production in Zimbabwe.

The academy’s innovative approach to theatre education and production focuses on empowering the next generation of creatives to explore new narratives and express their unique voices. Nyikadzino, the academy’s founder and executive director, emphasized their dedication to avoiding the repetition of old stories and providing a platform for young individuals to professionally share their own stories. “We are honoured by the nominations which recognise our work. It is the energy of these young people that has enabled us to create a national-level product, proving that visions are achievable with hard work,” Nyikadzino told NewsDay Life & Style.

“I AM/WAS MARAH” delves into the complexities of Zimbabwean society, exploring themes of division, personal development, forgiveness, and unity in the aftermath of elections. The play’s ambition to foster societal healing through personal transformation and unity is reflective of the academy’s broader mission to use theatre as a tool for social commentary and change.

The NAMA nominations have also served as a source of motivation and validation for the individuals involved in the production. Nosizo Gumede, an alumnus of the academy and nominee for Outstanding Theatre Actress, shared her elation and gratitude for the recognition, viewing it as divine affirmation of her path in the arts. Similarly, Ronald “Madolax” Sigeca, the play’s production manager, highlighted the challenges and rewards of guiding the production to meet commercial and artistic standards.

As the 22nd edition of the NAMA awards approaches, with the ceremony scheduled to take place at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre in Bulawayo under the theme #Kwan22, the Zimbabwe Theatre Academy stands poised to not only celebrate its achievements but also to reaffirm its role as a pivotal force in the revival and growth of Zimbabwe’s theatre scene. The academy’s success story is a beacon of hope and inspiration, demonstrating the transformative power of theatre in engaging, educating, and entertaining communities while addressing critical societal issues.


Source: Newsday

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