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Festival Promoting Theater For Young Audiences?

Kina Festival, a biennial event dedicated to theater for young audiences. Its fourth edition, which took place in Kigali, presented unique stage pieces...
Kina Festival 2017


Among the rarest, yet unique festivals which recently returned is the Kina Festival, a biennial event dedicated to theatre for young audiences. Its fourth edition, which took place in Kigali, presented unique stage pieces, of which some made their first regional or continental premieres.

Though having attracted a low turn up, the festival presenting music, dance and drama pieces targeting ages from as low as two, still seeks to a make way for creating public awareness for the theater culture, as well as emerging with a strong reputation for showcase of theater for young audiences.

Kina Festival, a biennial event dedicated to theater for young audiences. Its fourth edition, which took place in Kigali, presented unique stage pieces...

Festival for young Audiences

Special about most presentations is how they are collaborative projects incorporating acts from different countries into emerging with a sole pieces.

Making its initial African premiere was Hood Beat, a captivative German piece directed by Barbara Kὂlling, the play, which uses wood, as a centre focus, stars Michael Lurse and Marko Werner at the percussions. On stage, the stage is filled with wood husks, one character (a puppeteer) uses various tree forms like small branches, logs, splitted wood and paper to animate figurative shape, which he voices too. Backing up the play is rhythmic sounds created by xylophone played live on stage.

Since its creation over seven years ago, Wood Beat has been performed in Canada, Japan, India and several parts of Europe, yet it is to be taken to China next year according to Michael Lurse, the artistic director of the play.

Sand Scape is another stage play, which also had its first regional premiere in the festival. Directed by Jennie Reznek and Barbara Kollig, it is a collaborative play created through a workshop in South Africa, between countries Nigeria and Zimbabwe, presented by Joshua Alabi, Chipo Basopo, Joy Akrah and Lloyd Nyigadzino. Using sand, and other utensils like caps, plats buckets and cans, the cast barely uses words, but does several social exercises with sand.

Through the play, emotions and captivating nature is unearthed, which also keeps the audiences glued to it, due to the realness the characters take on. For instance, from innocence, the cast takes its audience into discovering sand, and wildly explores it through games created. This play has before been premiered in Zimbabwe and Angola, yet it is soon holding its Nigerian premiere.

Wood ways is another four-man stage act, crafted for ages as low as 2 years. Created last year, it is a collaborative project between The Magnet Theater and Goethe, where four African countries met through a workshop for Theatre for the Early Years.

The cast, which is made up of  Alumbe Hellen, Kento Juma from Kenya and Fokumlah Burnley Yaya, Mempuh Kwachuh Sophia from Cameroon’s stage act shares something similar to Wood Beat, also a German play, as both revolve around wood.  Presenting a cast, which is seen pondering, and exploring wood, right from seeds, sticks to logs.

Wood Ways well speaks to the African decent, for its incorporation of African folk songs and live conversations of greetings. The piece developed with the input of Barbara Kölling and Anna Sophia Zimniak from the German’s Helios Theatre.

The play, which is soon to be staged in Cameroun, then in Kenya later this month, is one of those which lures infants to it.

The three-day festival, which kicked off from November 10, also saw the premiere of After a Dream, a presentation by Umunyinya is a theatre troupe from Burundi and My little hill, a Rwandan play by Ishyo Arts Centre, which too had before been showcased in various festivals and tours.

Having been inspired through school, then later in workshops last year, Lloyd Nyigadzino is on a quest to pioneer theatre for young audience, which is a new venture in Zimbabwe,

“Through a few workshops, and taking presentations to community, we believe that this will pick up,” he states.


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