After impressing in Germany, an initiative by Theatre Konstanz, Nanzikambe Arts is finally in United Kingdom to showcase And Crocodiles are Hungry at Night.
Nanzikambe’s Nkhwachi Mhango said in an email that they arrived safely on Monday in the United Kingdom.
“We arrived safely and we are looking forward to giving out our best and make the country proud. We are here not for sight-seeing but to show that Malawi is developing in theatre,” said Mhango.
However, Nanzikambe Arts Founder and first artistic director Kate Stafford said yesterday that the crew missed their flight but were now in UK.
“Apart from missing their flight, their items also went missing in Ethiopia and only got them today [yesterday]. Now we are into rehearsals,” she said.
Stafford added that all the crew were in except Katimba whose role had been taken by Angella Ching’amba and that Misheck Mzumara would jet in today after delaying as he was starring in a play here which is a collaboration with Theatre Konstanz.
The play And Crocodiles in Blantyre in March.
Directed by Stafford, the play features Mzumara who plays Jack Mapanje and Aaron Ngalonde as Brown Mpinganjira.
Other cast members are Mphundu Mjumira, Thlupego Chisiza, Jafali Amadu, Hussein Gopole and Maureen Mathala. Katimba was also part of the cast but she has not made it after being denied a visa.
Nanzikambe Managing Director Chris Nditani said the absence of Katimba, will not affect the production as Ching’amba will take up her role.
“This is why they left earlier so that they have enough time to rehearse. Other than the famous play, the group will also stage African Romeo and Juliet,” said Nditani adding that the group will hold over 20 shows.
Stafford said the UK premiere will be on Sunday in Stratford in Avon, followed by a run at The Africa Centre, Covent Garden from 31st July – 18th August.
There will also be an open air production of Romeo and Juliet, presented in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust directed by Amy Bonsall.
She said the performance by Nanzikambe artists in UK aims at bringing artists together from around the world, using local performance styles and traditional art forms to create vibrant, innovative theatre of excellence that is a fusion of East and West, North and South.
And The Crocodiles Are Hungry at night is a memoir by Jack Mapanje which was adopted for stage by Stafford.
Just as Brown Mpinganjira patronized the show in Blantyre, Mapanje is expected to be present during the performance in the UK.
Mapanje, who is the main character in the play, languished without charge. When he was sent to prison, there were more than 45 prisoners sharing Mapanje’s cell but the play has only five inmates.