US filmmaker/designer headlines local indaba

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

United States filmmaker and designer Sasha Emerson is in the country as one of the facilitators of the two-week Almasi African Playwrights Conference that is expected to end this Saturday at Harare’s Reps Theatre.

The Brown University and the Yale School of Drama graduate and Los Angeles native will today have a short conversation with the media alongside Almasi’s 2017 Walter Mparutsa Fellowship awardee Gideon Jeph Wabvuta.

The conversation is part of the conference’s media event scheduled for the Café Society at Batanai Gardens.

Almasi spokesperson, Elizabeth Zaza Muchemwa confirmed the developments, saying the Almasi African Playwrights Conference was designed to identify, nurture and develop Zimbabwean writing talent to compete on the global stage while opening up to new voices from other countries.

“Almasi is quite excited about this fourth edition of the Almasi African Playwrights Conference and looks forward to it benefiting the Zimbabwean dramatic arts sector – the focus being to reignite the Zimbabwean voice in the dramatic arts and bring about a new era of great Zimbabwean dramatic storytellers,” she told NewsDay Life & Style.

The conference programme will include play development workshop sessions with local actors and directors facilitated by Emerson and Wabvuta and will close with public-staged readings of new African plays by Blessing Musariri, Farai Mabeza and Makanaka Mavengere.

Emerson has served on the leadership board for over a decade and her professional life includes two long-term careers as a senior studio executive for HBO and New Line Cinema, and as a residential designer.

She is currently in her second term as AMC Networks theatrical consultant, connecting writers, directors and projects to their networks’ teams. She has also been with the Ojai Playwrights Conference for over 12 years, as a member of the reading committee, advisory board and production dramaturge and artist.

Muchemwa said the conference will culminate in free public-staged readings of the new African plays being developed at the conference on Friday and Saturday at Reps Theatre.

“The public-staged readings will be presented as follows; Friday, 7pm Painted Wolves by Farai Mabeza, directed by Makomborero Theresa Muchemwa, Saturday at 3pm Maid in the Mirror by Makanaka Mavengere, directed by Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi and later on the day at 6pm A Case of The Silent Girl by Blessing Musariri, directed by Eyahra Mathazia,” she said.

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