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ASSITEJ Zambia held its annual Jacaranda Theatre Festival on March 21 -23 in Lusaka and Solwezi. It started with community performances and dance workshops in some selected parts of Lusaka. The final day had performances at the Lusaka Playhouse. ASSITEJ Zambia is this year celebrating its 20th anniversary and as part of ASSITEJZambia@20, there was a display of photos and paintings depicting the life of ASSITEJ Zambia since its inception on July 11, 1999.  

The festival drew participants from member schools and community theatre companies that performed poetry,  traditional and contemporary dances, physical theatre, storytelling, music, ballet and puppetry coupled with motivational talks from some of the prominent personalities like Esther Chungu and Hellen Handabile.  Among the adult groups that participated were House of Art, Great Echo Theatre, Colour-Wheel School of Arts, Zambezi Arts Link, Twalumba Theatre and Snazzy Theatre Group. The schools were represented by Ng’ombe PTA School, Rhodes Park School, Yesani School, Wisdom School, St. Ignitious School and Woodford School while various individual artists were on hand to showcase their skills in music, comedy, and puppetry. The visual arts displays which attracted hundreds of people was mainly by Maclaudy Munanzwa, one of Zambia’s upcoming visual artists. Similar activities were held in the north-western town of Solwezi where artists from the province and the nearby copperbelt assembled for the festival.

Among the many notable artists that attended the climax in Lusaka were the chairman of the National Arts Council of Zambia Patrick Samwimbila and the chairman of the Zambia Popular Theatre Alliance Philip Kaluba. In his address to the artists Samwimbila pledged NAC’s support to ASSITEJ and its activities stressing the need to identify talent at an early stage of a child’s life. He reminded the audience that NAC had declared 2019 as ‘The Year of the Arts’ in Zambia. ASSITEJ Zambia  President Bernard Mutambwa assured the artists and the general public that the Jacaranda Theatre Festival will be international in 2020. He promised that a bigger and more compact festival will be rolled out to other parts of the country next year and that a call for local and international performances was to be made later in the year.

Photos courtesy of Robson Phiri

Photo 1 : Ng’ombe PTA School after their show

Photo 2 : Maclaudy explaining his artwork to the media

Photo 3 : House of Art members before the show

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