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Rooftop Promotions yesterday called for submissions of play scripts from writers that want their productions to feature at Theatre in the Park when it resumes soon.

It seems, after many come-back promises, Theatre in the Park is now headed for a genuine return. This would be a welcome return because the gap that the theatre programme had left in the industry when it took a break seemed to be widening each day.

Although other theatre production houses like Edzai Isu have been consistent with their plays somewhere away from the park, there was no replacement for Theatre in the Park.

Attempts by the likes of Peter Churu and Silvanos Mudzvova to provide alternative programmes at venues in the city centre were unfruitful as they only showed a few productions.

Some plays have been staged at the University of Zimbabwe but the location of the venue does not offer accessibility to the public as was the case with the Harare Gardens venue.

Rooftop Promotions’ haggling with Zimbabwe International Book Fair in 2012 over the theatre venue led to the closure of Theatre in the Park and the producers have been promising to get a new venue for the programme.

Initially it appeared the organisers would secure a new venue at the beginning of 2013 in time for a new theatre season but it was not to be.

The Harare Gardens gazebo that used to be a hive of activity whenever there was a play run became desolate.

Every year, many plays would be showcased in the gazebo and new and upcoming actors showcased their skills in the park.

It was a good platform to nurture acting talent and it was at the venue that actress Chipo Bizure who was known as Eve in Studio 263 made her transformation from the television to stage acting. She was exciting and her roles on stage were well executed.

Eunice Tava, who grew from an actress to a director, had most of her stage acts at Theatre in the Park where she featured in many plays.

Tafadzwa Muzondo, who now runs Edzai Isu theatre production house, made a mark for his outstanding roles in plays staged at Theatre in the Park. Musician Rockford “Roki” Josphats had his debut theatre role at Theatre in the Park in the play Roki and Maneta that was well-attended.

Even theatre gurus like the late Walter Mparutsa, Daves Guzha and Zenzo Nyathi enhanced their expertise through various roles in productions showcased in park.

Veteran playwright Stephen Chifunyise wrote many plays for Rooftop Promotions. Theatre in the Park brought out award-winning plays, actors and actresses.

When Theatre in the Park was closed, the programme’s absence was felt in the industry and it is good news that a new venue is being established and productions would be showcased in the second half of the year.

Source : The Herald