By Margaretta wa Gacheru (31 October 2018)
The Third edition of the Kenya International Theatre Festival opens next week at Kenya National Theatre, organized by Kenyatta University and the founder of KITF, Kevin Kimani who’s a graduate student at KU.
The six-day festival, which runs from 6th - 11th November, will feature theatre troupes performing from all over the world including Kenya. There will also be a two-day conference when a number of theatre practitioners and academics from Kenya and elsewhere will share ideas. That will happen on 7th -- 8th November.
The theme of this year’s KITF is “The Paradoxes of State Aid in the Growth of Theatre in Kenya.” It’s a topic that will be tackled initially by the Keynote speaker, Dr Charles Kibaya of Southeastern University in Kitui. There will also be presentations given by thespians and academics from US, Egypt and Kenya.
The Kenyans participating will span a broad spectrum of the local theatre scene. They include thespians like Mueni Lundi of The Performance Collective, Tash Mitambo of Renegade Ventures, Eliud Abuto formerly with the Festival of Creative Arts, Keith Pearson of The Theatre Company and George Orido of the Standard newspaper among others.
The topics they will discuss range from taking theatre to the people, unity among theatre actors and theatre and media to gender and theatre practice in Kenya, puppetry and participatory theatre to running a successful theatre company.
Despite the Festival being a six-day affair, there will hardly be breathing space for people who want to take part in scintillating discussions on the past, present and future of theatre in Kenya but also attend the myriad plays being performed by troupes coming from around Africa, Europe and the States.
On the Festival’s opening day alone, there will be six performances, one by an Egyptian troupe, one by Rwandese, another by Ugandans and three by Kenyans, one a collaboration with a Ugandan company, another a ‘collabo’ with an American university dramatizing Muthoni Garland’s book, ‘Tracing the Scent of my Mother.’
Every other day will feature just one play per day, either from Sweden, Rwanda, Uganda or Kenya. But on the weekend, there will be two performed on Saturday (one from South Africa) and on Sunday, the festival’s closing day, there promises to be five more productions, from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
So theatre lovers need to leave their schedules open to attend as many new plays next week as possible.