Mphepo pleads for government intervention in arts industry

By Trevor Makonyonga

Veteran actor and founder of the Jason Mphepo Little Theatre (JMLT), Jason Mphepo has called on government to assist the theatre industry which has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The theatre industry which relies on its live audiences for revenue has been negatively affected during the globa pandemic where physical interaction is limited.

Speaking to Bustop TV, Mphepo said his business has had a difficult time as audiences are hesitant to attend physical gatherings.

“Its been difficult as we rely on face to face audiences. Audiences have been sceptical around attending shows as they have the fear of being infected in spaces which are not being fumigated well or being spaces were a number of people come.  We need the Ministry of Health and that of Sports Arts and Culture to come through and assist with resources to ensure our spaces are COVID free. However it looks promising.”

Mphepo, who runs Patsime Edutainment Trust, also gave a line up of events scheduled for the coming months.  

“Currently we are closed at the Jasen Mphepo Little Theatre. We shall be reopening in July. We will open with a theatre production, The Nuns. A provocative satire on how the clergy men abuse young women who have enrolled as Nuns . Then we are going to launch Dry Jokes as a live performance. We have been doing the show for online audiences as well as broadcasting the show on ZBC. We will also host a Mwenje Mathole unplugged show on the 31st and kuzoba lit. Patsime will be running a series of Gender based violence skits under the Spotlight initiative,  supported by UNFPA.”

With theatre spaces closed up due to limited resources, most companies have taken the virtual route as witnessed last year when the two week Mitambo International Festival was held online.