Give Us Space!

Posted on May 7, 2017

Give Us Space!

Harare, March 19th 2017 | Gideon Jeph Wabvuta


The story of Mbare dreams began two years ago when Robert Egan came to Zimbabwe to conduct the first ever Almasi African Playwrights Festival (AAPF). Little did I know that two years later I would be performing my original play in Albuquerque New Mexico at the Revolutions festival. I didn’t think much of it when Juli Hendren, the Artistic Director of the Revolutions Festival, approached me and expressed interest in me participating in the festival this year.

However, a few months after our meeting, Juli emailed me again to my surprise, and thus the real conversation to bring Mbare Dreams to the festival began. Robert Egan, my director, was roped in and in no time we were at work rewriting the show, readying it for the festival. It was a struggle to say the least to be back on stage as for the past two years I had been focusing on just writing and directing. The pressures of grad school didn’t make it any easier but we pushed on.

Monday the 13th of March, we landed in Albuquerque and went straight to rehearsal. That became the routine, rehearsal from 10am to 5pm, then home, where I would take a brief rest only to resume rehearsal the next day. I can safely say it was one of the toughest jobs I have ever done. The support I had from my director Robert Egan, Michelle Joyner, the wonderful staff at Revolution, Kevin, Eddie, Star, Alexis, Barbara, all of them were a constant support throughout these three days. It would be a lie to say I didn’t question my abilities whilst going through this process because I did, as day and night I was destroyed both physically and emotionally.

Thursday, 16th of March was the first performance and I found myself going through my paces before the show and always feeling overwhelmed- here is a boy who a few years ago would never have imagined being here. The show went well and afterwards the love that was showered on me by the festival itself will forever remain with me. The comradery with all the young practitioners from Uganda, Sudan and all over the US will always stick with me. I left the festival on a Sunday and all I could think about was: when you give us space to tell our stories, we will tell them and tell them well.

My gratitude goes to a lot of people and organizations, namely Almasi Arts for its constant support and for sending me as its representative at the TCG conference. If I hadn’t participated in the conference, I would never have gotten this chance. As always, I am in such debt to Robert Egan for being my fearless director and never giving up on me. Juli Hendren for inviting me into the Revolutions family and lastly the whole Tricklock Family- for making me believe fun and arts do exist in the same sentence #ReptilianLounge.”


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