Zim actress shines in Sweden

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Award-winning actress Kudzai Chimbaira who relocated to Sweden in 2008 is back in the country to share her international theatre experience with local theatre practitioners as part of a cultural exchange workshop currently running at Theatre in the Park until May 13.

The workshop will also help Chimbaira catch up with theatre development in Zimbabwe for the years that she has been away.

“Being a Zimbabwean living abroad, this workshop is my way of keeping in touch with my theatre colleagues and imparting the diverse knowledge I have gathered ever since I relocated to Sweden,” said Chimbaira.

She said despite rich local plays there was great need for actors to be exposed to regional and international plays because that exposure would make it easy to adapt foreign plays into the Zimbabwean context.

Chimbaira said she believed that her knowledge in improvisation could help actors find the feeling of being in the moment of a scene and act it out as if it was the first time.

“I am so excited about an exchange of ideas with, and learning from, the theatre talent that I have seen around here,” she said.

Chimbaira said Swedish plays mostly centred on social relationships, whereas from her point of view Zimbabwean plays mostly centred on political issues.

She was trained by Theory X and won awards that include Best Theatre Actress for Nama 2008, Best Actress for Ziff 2007 and Best Actress for Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia. She directed a play titled Silent Words for Hifa 2008 before relocating to Sweden.

“Supported by the Swedish Arts Council, Chimbaira and Per Gottfredsson (an improvisation theatre guru from Sweden), in collaboration with Theory X Media, will lead advanced readings of some acclaimed Swedish plays by August Strindberg, Sofia Fredén and Henning Mankell,” said Rooftop Promotions sales and marketing executive Tafadzwa Muzondo.

He said during the workshop scenes from the plays would be adapted to a local context. The plays include The Father, by August Strindberg,

They Died with their Boots on by Sofia Fredén and The Unscrupulous Murderer, Hasse Karlsson Reveals the Gruesome Truth about the Woman who Froze to Death on a Railway Bridge by Henning Mankell (with translation by May-Britt Åkerholt).
Muzondo said at the end of the two-week-long workshop there will be a production open to the public.

“We are happy to be supporting this initiative by our very own theatre artist who has made a mark in Sweden and hope this will go a long way in perpetuating the exchange that we as Rooftop Promotions have had with the Swedish theatre fraternity, which includes bringing Swedish directors to help us here and taking our plays to Sweden over the years,” said Rooftop Promotions producer Daves Guzha.

Guzha said theatre was global thus local artists need not only focus on local works but also appreciate what is happening around the world since this is a crucial part of theatre development.

One play will be selected and produced in Harare, drawing its cast from the workshop.

Muzondo said Chimbaira is a versatile stage and film artist who has formed a theatre company, Integrationsteatern, in Sweden which has produced a play in Sweden by Zimbabwean playwright Tawanda Kanengoni, Strange Conversations.