Masvingo drama fight referred to arbitration

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THE Masvingo drama circle fight which last week spilled into the courts has been referred to arbitration.

SILENCE CHARUMBIRA

A management committee that is running Charles Austin Theatre in the past few weeks wrote to incumbent artistic director Leroy Gono that they would no longer fund his welfare and reduced his post to a volunteer position.

But, Gono approached the courts which last week referred the case to arbitration.

NewsDay understands the management committee led by Gideon Masarira has appointed a new artistic director Kethani Michael Banda.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Banda insisted he would respond to NewsDay queries, but the communication had not been received by the time of print.

At the weekend, however, Banda posted on social networking site Facebook advising supporters of Tell Zimbabwe (Masvingo) a page that acted as the official medium for Charles Austin Theatre and signed off as the acting artistic director of the theatre.

Masarira confirmed to our sister paper, The Standard, that they had made Gono’s position a volunteer post, but it could not be established whether Banda would be paid by donors or the drama circle.

Gono was appointed the first black artistic director at Charles Austin Theatre in July 2013 and managed to take productions to various theatres in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Two weeks ago, Gono received a letter suggesting that the drama circle would now stop paying his salary.

Accusations and counter accusations have been flying from both ends, but Gono yesterday said the matter should be resolved this week when they go to the Labour Court.

The war has also been fought  on Facebook with different theatre artists making an outcry over the treatment that Gono has been subjected to.

Obrian Mudyiwenyama posted: “Gono Leeroy has been fantastic in this position. What   next now? Really? shame(sic).”

Daniel Maposa then responded: “It’s a real case of loss of focus and selfishness on the part of the so-called committee. That attitude is anti-theatre. Charles Austin and Masvingo was slowly becoming visible and then this!”

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