BULAWAYO – Maria Wilson, the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) executive director, says women will only increase clout in theatre by fighting for their space without apology.
The Hifa boss made the remarks while officiating at a workshop for women theatre professionals during the just-ended Intwasa Arts Festival.
“Women must work together to increase the number of female writers, directors and producers in theatre despite the disheartening challenges they face,” Wilson said.
Wilson wants to see more women collaborating with more seasoned theatre personalities who will help them improve their craft.
“You should be able to collaborate with playwrights, actors and directors from different parts of the country to come up with good productions that reach international standards.”
Several female theatre practitioners who attended the one-day event also gave several reasons that contribute to the marginal position occupied by women in theatre. Xanier Dlomo, a Bulawayo-based actress and script writer, attributes women’s lowly status to petty jealousy.
“The major problem with women is that they cannot work together. They compete in everything they do and have a bad attitude towards each other,” Dlomo said.
“Instead of helping each other, they concentrate more on bringing each other down and this hinders them from reaching their full potential,” she said.
Nonhlalo Dube, the project coordinator of Women in Theatre believes more funding will help women narrow the gap that exists between them and their male counterparts.
“We have a lot of talent here in Bulawayo but unfortunately we are not receiving the much-needed financial support.
“The corporate sector and most of the donors in the arts industry concentrate more on Harare-based artists,” she said.
A spokesperson for Nhimbe Trust Shellin Mugoma, cites discrimination against women theatre practitioners as a serious stumbling block.
“Women are creating some of the most exciting and creative theatre works.
“Despite many success stories enjoyed by women, they continue to face enormous discrimination when it comes to employment because directors in the arts prefer male directors to female ones,” said the Nhimbe Trust information and communications officer.