Tonderai Zvimba, Showbiz Reporter
The multi-disciplinary performing arts, Umkhathi Theatre Works, aims to spread their works across the Sadc region by collaborating with other groups from the region.
Matesu Dube, director of the award-winning group that was formed in 1997 said they now want to spread their wings beyond the borders, so as to attract a new audience.
“We are aiming at attracting new audiences beyond the borders and to collaborate with other dance groups from the Sadc region and our focus is to create productions that can be showcased in the Sadc region. We have been in contact with other groups around Sadc.”
Umkhathi is also working on a new musical dance show that they hope to launch by the end of the year.
“This year we are working on a new musical dance show that’s focused on Bulawayo culture. The show will include music, traditional dance, poetry and storytelling. We hope to launch the show towards the end of the year if all goes well,” said Dube.
The arts ensemble received a nomination at this year’s edition of the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards, in the Outstanding Traditional Dance Ensemble category.
“We feel proud as a group to be nominated for the Outstanding Traditional Dance ensemble in the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards. It’s great to see that our productions are making an impact in communities. It means that we are one of the arts organisations in the city and the country as a whole that is keeping the arts alive,” Dube said.
In the category Umkhathi will come up against, Balomba Performing Arts and Khaya Arts come June 29 the day of the awards.
Umkhathi have won the Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance competition in the past have had many successes as the group, but according to Dube it has been hard to keep afloat.
“Artistes like everyone else have a challenge in surviving in a country that is facing economic challenges. It is difficult to create shows in such an economy as there’s no funding for such projects. We are unable to raise funds to buy the required props and costumes for our shows as we aren’t getting enough shows to raise the required funds.”