HARARE theatre practitioners have formed the Association of Community Theatre Artistes of Harare (ACTAH).
The association, which is affiliated to the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, is mandated to oversee the professionalisation of community theatre and personal development of theatre practitioners in Harare.
Tafadzwa Muzondo, who has been appointed the founding chairperson, said the association would go a long way in ensuring a vibrant industry.
“We had our first meeting on January 31 and we unanimously agreed on creation of a constitution whose final draft was passed on Monday,” said Muzondo.
He said they would be seeking to revive and sustain the culture of paying for theatrical shows since it is also a means of survival for artistes involved.
“Since I was a young boy, community theatre artistes have played a pivotal role in dealing with pertinent issues like the land reform.
“But today the bulk of the same people don’t own a piece of land they call their own. They still struggle to pay rentals and ACTAH’s target is to engage the various people in our network so as to resolve these imbalances.”
Muzondo said they would also approach insurance companies which would craft various packages for the community theatre artistes in order to lessen the burden when one falls ill or dies.
He added that the association would also be tasked with revival of the use of community spaces for theatre purposes.
“Stoddard and Magamba halls are probably the best spaces in Harare, but they are currently being hired by churches only,” he said.
“As theatre practitioners we work with the Department of Housing and Community Services and we know council has land reserved for such facilities. The association will thus seek to make sure core objectives are achieved in that regard.”
Muzondo said in the long run they are targeting a vibrant theatre festival that will be hosted in Harare.
He said if the model they have put in place is implemented successfully, other cities and towns will be free to replicate the same idea.
ACTAH is made up of 25 community theatre groups from different suburbs.