Organisers of the inaugural Stephen Chifunyise International Festival have said the event, which was supposed to be held at Theatre in the Park from March 25 to 28, will now be on digital platforms on the same dates, due to Covid-19.
The festival will be screened on social media platforms as Government has put on hold public gatherings and events as a preventative measure against Covid-19.
The three-day festival has been put in three categories — children performances, film and academia.
In an interview, organiser and theatre practitioner Daves Guzha said they have already set up the digital platforms and the festival will go ahead as planned.
“We respect the Government’s decision and this will also promote sanity amongst ourselves,” he said.
“There will be no gatherings, but since rehearsals have been taking place we will be able to use the digital platforms to screen the festival.
“We will upload and launch on the prescribed days, hence we appeal to the public to watch the festival and to the stakeholders to come and partner with us. So far we are in talks with several media houses and social media influencers to help us push the initiative.
“We will announce which media house or social media pages the public will tune into and enjoy the festival.”
Guzha said that they had created nexus with the invited countries such as South Africa, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia.
“The above mentioned countries are no longer coming, but they are already working on their content which will also be uploaded as per programme,” he said.
“We decided on using the digital platforms because most people who will be home in isolation also need entertainment.”
He said it was a first in local theatre sector to have such a concept, and it is expected to avail opportunities for upcoming and renowned practitioners to showcase their artworks.
The festival is a tribute to the late playwright and cultural connoisseur Stephen Chipfunyise, affectionately known as “Uncle Steve”.
It is being co-hosted by Theatre in the Park and Chipawo Trust, celebrating plays written by the late Chipfunyise.
The award-winning playwright succumbed to cancer on August 6 last year.