Together as one Theatre Productions on Saturday re-launched the Magariro Winter Festival at the Highfield Community Centre after a five-year break from operations due to economic challenges.
The festival celebrates local theatre and dance while educating people on issues to do with human rights but was this year more centred on children’s rights.
Several theatre and dance groups got together to stage various performances and plays with the objective of teaching people and children about abuse in all its forms, its effects on society and offered solutions.
The event saw prolific performing arts groups such as Patsimeredu Edutainment Trust, Savannah Trust, Bingi Works and Together as One along with other smaller groups like Culture Warriors, Hwamande and Shooting Stars performing for a small crowd in the oldest suburb in Harare.
The festival, which was founded by former health minister Timothy Stamps in June 1998 and funded by United Nations Children Education Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organisation, seeks to enlighten people on the essence of theatre in addressing societal problems.
“Theatre is not only important in educating people on various issues of societal concern but it also helps in giving the youths what to do because in most of our societies idleness is the major culprit responsible for many problems in our communities,” said Wasington Masenda, director of Together As One Theatre Productions Trust.
Masenda added that this year the festival was focusing on children’s vulnerability to diseases such as HIV and Aids through abuse and spearheading a national campaign against gross violations of children’s rights.
He, however, blamed the government for slowing down the growth of theatre since independence saying that it (the government) has managed to build stadiums, swimming pools and other infrastructure yet no structures or real funds have been laid down for the elevation of performing arts.
“There are community halls in most residential areas but the city council cannot accord the intended beneficiaries access to such infrastructure for something even less as simple as rehearsal space,” said Masenda.