By Trevor Makonyonga
The Zimbabwe Theatre Academy has partnered with the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) in using theatre for the rehabilitation and re-integration of incarcerated people into society.
Speaking to Bustop TV, Zimbabwe Theatre Academy director, Lloyd Nyikadzino said the partnership focuses on delivering a professional product from creative incarcerated people.
Nyikadzino said, “The professional theatre capacity development is Zimbabwe Theatre Academy’s most critical strategic priority focus area. This partnership focuses on developing the creative capacity of incarcerated people in delivering professional theatre product in preparation of their discharge from prisons and correctional institutions. The focus on capacity development of individuals in correctional institutions is motivated by the recognition of the continued need of rehabilitation and to strengthen the skills base necessary for the production of high quality theatre and psychosocial support.”
Nyikadzino added that the group will showcase at this year’s Mitambo International Festival.
“The Zimbabwe Theatre Academy plan that this year; the current group we are working with will be able to showcase an original short theatre show at the Mitambo International Theatre festival which will run from the 14th of September to the 2nd of October. This partnership with the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, will emphasise on the organization’s flexibility in developing more training packages catering to a wider audience with varied needs and in different circumstances.”
Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) Chihobvu on their website said that “willing stakeholders should have opportunities to come forward” to assist the service.
“I thus hasten to pay tribute to my predecessor, Major General (Retired) Paradzai Willings Zimondi whose vision resulted in the adoption of the ‘Open Door Policy.’ Opening doors to the community meant breaking the traditional concept of running closed institutions. This paradigm shift is premised on our conviction that the community and willing stakeholders should have opportunities to come forward and play a part in amplifying the ZPCS to successfully discharge its Constitutional Mandate,” said Commissioner-General Chihobvu.
Nyikadzino said the Zimbabwe Theatre Academy took heed of this call hence the partnership.
“The remarks by the Commissioner-General (ZPCS) MCN Chihobvu are what the Academy as a willing stakeholder is seeking to support in humanising the organisation. We had witnessed that this community is mostly marginalised, sidelined and forgotten from the rest of the Zimbabwe community. The general Zimbabwean public tend not to want to be associated with inmates as soon as their incarcerated or the organisation. This has lead us to also assist in the small way we can to the correctional services to bridge this gap between the correctional services and the community. The theatre skills transfer allows for the empowerment of the incarcerated individual with theatre making and performance skills which we hope will facilitate one to create or find employment for their life after prison,” said Nyikadzino.
Currently the training is only in Harare and will be later introduced at all correctional facilities in the country.