Theatre buffs will be in for a treat in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, when Rituals, a play written by veteran award-winning playwright Stephen Chifunyise and produced by Daves Guzha, takes centre stage at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.
Rituals, a play that fuses drama and dance to depict community-initiated rituals of healing and reconciliation, will be making its festive premiere at this prestigious festival that is set to kick off on June 30 and end on July 10.
In an interview with NewsDay, the director of Rooftop Promotions Daves Guzha said: “Rituals will be staged in Grahamstown from July 2 to 10 and will participate in a carefully selected programme of the festival which brings in works from around the continent called Remix.
“We will also have performances in townships as well as a dedicated performance for politicians and opinion leaders.
“All in all, we will have 10 performances in Grahamstown and then move over to Johannesburg for five shows which begin on July 12.
Guzha also added that shows will be spread from the Methodist Church, which houses Zimbabwean asylum seekers and dispossessed people, to Drama for Life a programme by Zimbabwe Social Justice Project located at Wits University.
“Shows will also take place in the townships and we aim to have dedicated shows for the media, civil society, faith-based organisations, politicians and artists. We will be back home on July 18,” said Guzha.
Comprised of a star-studded cast of Mandla Moyo, Zenzo Nyathi, Silvanos Mudzvova, Chipo Bizure, Joyce Mpofu and Rutendo Chigudu, Rituals will feature at this fest courtesy of Rooftop Promotions, one of the leading theatre powerhouses in the country.
Rituals had a brush with the law when the cast was arrested in Chimanimani and charged with criminal nuisance before being acquitted.
The entire cast spent two nights in police cells before going for another night in detention in Bindura on unclear charges.
The play went on a nationwide tour locally before going on a tour of Zambia where the Rooftop Promotions cast left lasting impressions.
Rooftop has produced internationally acclaimed shows that have toured all over the world and have done outreach programmes with plays advocating peace, healing and reconciliation among other issues.
Grahamstown National Arts Festival is an annual event, arguably Africa’s largest and most colourful cultural event which offers a choice of the very best of both indigenous and imported talent.
Every year for 11 days in June and July Grahamstown offers a feast of more than 500 shows from opera, cabaret, drama, jazz to stand-up comedy and folk music.
The festival operates from the 1820 Settlers’ National Monuments and is organised by Grahamstown Foundation.