Chipawo World wins international award

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Children’s Performing Arts Workshop (Chipawo) was recently listed to represent Zimbabwe in a Southern African project that recently won the prestigious annual International Ibsen Award for 2011 in Norway.

The project, Negotiating Ibsen in Southern Africa is a Chipawo World initiative involving youths from South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. It will be implemented in three stages and the award will provide the bulk of the support for the first stage, which will see the formation of small professional youth companies in South Africa and Namibia.

This year over 70 projects were submitted and three awards were given with the other two going to Sudan and Lebanon.

“The award was received in Henrik Ibsen’s birthplace in Norway by the Chipawo World director, Dr Robert McLaren, accompanied by the director of National Theatre of Namibia, Werner Thaniseb. McLaren made a presentation at the annual Ibsen Conference which is held concurrently with the awards ceremony,” said Chipawo manager Chipo Basopo.

The awards were named after Ibsen (1828-1906), a dramatist whose works are the most widely peformed in the world, also referred to as the “Father of Modern Drama”.

Basopo said members of the companies would in March 2012 meet up with their counterparts in Zimbabwe, at Chipawo’s New Horizon theatre company, for a camp in Harare.

“The young artists will negotiate or interrogate the ideas and issues raised in three of Ibsen’s plays in the context of the realities of their own societies and they will be expected to come up with new theatre productions which will be taken on performance tours in the respective countries of the theatre companies,” she said.

Chipawo has already done a version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House titled The Most Wonderful Thing of All which raised deeply challenging issues relating to marriage, law and religion with regard to gender equity.

Basopo said the project was built on work already done by Chipawo in Zimbabwe supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

“The Negotiating Ibsen in Southern Africa project will culminate in the formation of a regular international theatre festival in Africa, dedicated to plays that will explore and provoke ideas related to society and development in the spirit of Ibsen.”