BY SHARON SIBINDI
AS they say dynamite comes in small packages, this description best describes Bulawayo film, theatre writer, director and producer Khaliphile “Khally” Sibanda ,who is slowly making her way up in the theatre industry.
Recently, Khally’s theatre play He Doesn’t Have a Backbone was selected for the Women Playwrights Montreal Canada 2022 Conference.
She has also directed productions such as Miserable, a rendition from the book Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.
As she continues to scale greater heights, Khally has also been selected as the national director for the Zimbabwe World Championships Of Performing Arts (ZWCOPA). NewsDay Weekender caught up with Kally, who shared her arts expedition
“I started this theatre journey as a writer. I wrote It’s Not Gold for Theatre for Everyone, a programme which was co-ordinated by Nonhlalo Dube and the story was directed by Thembelihle Moyo, who actually made me write that story.
“She told me that I can be a good writer based on the fact that I was pursuing two careers by then, film, theatre and music and as a health practitioner. I later edited the story for Youthspark Pan Africa Rwanda.
“I continued to write, direct and produce on my own and so far, the plays and films include Putrefaction, Soma, Lucid Dreaming, He rose and Cross Roads. The major ones include S/He Is Perfect that was released in California and went on to win five international awards — Indo-Singapore, Gona, Nawada, 4th Dimensional and Uruvatti.
“The play He Doesn’t Have a Backbone was selected for Women Playwrights International Montreal Canada.
“This same theatre play opened doors for me to be an international film and theatre judge at World Monologue Games in Australia, ambassador at International Youth Conference 2021, delegate at Youth Spark Pan Africa and the huge one being the national director for World Championships Of Performing Arts USA.”
Source of inspiration
“I am always following European producer Andrew Lloyd Webber. His talent in theatre makes me want to push hard to reach his standard and one day I believe I will be there.”
Keeping the legacy alive
“My plan on my legacy to continue in the theatre industry is to have many youths join the industry. To keep my legacy going, I expect everyone I train to stand up and do the same.
“Like if it was a thousand of us doing different kinds of theatre performances then theatre will rise and never die.
“I always encourage the youths to practise writing the plays for themselves and ask the adults to proof read and guide them while waiting for the adults to continue doing everything for us.”
“I would love to see a three-hour pure Zimbabwean production one day done by young people involving all forms of arts. That is why I love World Championships Of Performing Arts, it involves all forms of arts and one gets out of the box when thinking of doing a production.
“For example, we are currently working on an aviation medical musical movie called Serpentine Doctors, which involves aviation because I have experience in all these three worlds.”
“The competitions I organise under Geraldine Roche Drama make it a point that it’s the youths who are doing the most. I train most of the youths that we get from the competition to direct by doing collaborative theatre performances.
“For example, Misérables which have got different groups from Bulawayo and Matabeleland such as Pezhuba, Yashar, Colada, Roar, Aroma and some members from Bambelela Arts as well as individuals who auditioned for the play.
“It was the same again with Phantom, the reason I include different groups is that these are international renditions and the aim is to have all artists learning from the international writing and composing for musicals.”
“My heart is with musicals by the way because it reveals hidden skills of different artists. For example, they don’t just act, but can sing and dance as well which makes a cool production.”
“I don’t work alone, never. I don’t scratch my head trying to do “pantsula dance” when we have one within the cast, I delegate where I can’t. I make sure that everyone has something to do amongst the cast members. We all work together.
“We all fight and argue in order to come up with great ideas and for the play to be good and watchable, this is because we don’t think alike, we don’t know each other, but we know there is a production to be done. For example, there are parts in a musical where I need a physical theatre feel, then a physical theatre person works on the scene.”
“I have learnt that there is no pain without gain. It takes sacrifice to achieve something, sacrifice in the form of resources and the whole of me doing something for myself. I love to say I worked hard at the end of the day and it makes me feel my independence.
“Sacrifice is the key to success because you also sacrifice to be educated. That is why I always say sacrifice, not education, is the key to success.”
Desire to write a book
“I want to write my own book, but I feel I haven’t done enough to have a book. I need to wait until I shoot a musical film on a plane, I will then do the book and the title will be The Complicated Me.”
“I have learnt to work online and even taught a few people how to work their theatre plays online and just wait for the lockdown to be lifted.
“We need to be safe, but feed ourselves at the same time. It has made the artists’ life hard and it’s time artists put their plan B to action.”
“During my spare time I sleep a lot or I think of funny recipes and cook that, then fail to eat what I cooked.”
Away from theatre
“Having three careers is a project for me, I want everyone I cross paths with to be inspired and know that the sky is never the limit, but one’s thoughts. The project that I am always doing is called Girls With Degrees where I make sure that my little sisters from around the world pursue different careers in order to choose.
“For the community I have always preferred to be unknown, however, I always make sure that there is a family with something every month.”
- Follow Sharon on Twitter @SibindiSharon