In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing challenges faced by Uganda’s theatre industry, veteran stageplay actor Shafik Kasagga Kiyimba is spearheading a movement to breathe new life into the declining sector.
His advocacy revolves around adapting theatrical productions to resonate with the preferences of the younger generation, whose dwindling interest poses a significant threat to the art form.
The theatre sector in Uganda is grappling with a diminishing audience, particularly among the youth. Kiyimba emphasizes the need for theatre directors and playwrights to incorporate comedy, contemporary slang, and modern elements into their productions to captivate the interest of the younger audience. He recognizes the evolving tastes and expectations of the youth, urging industry professionals to embrace a more youth-centric approach.
Balancing tradition and modernity
While advocating for the integration of new content and styles, Kiyimba underscores the importance of maintaining the essential role of theatre as a reflection of society. He emphasizes that the inclusion of modern elements should not compromise the powerful themes that convey societal values.
Striking a balance between tradition and modernity becomes crucial in ensuring the relevance of theatre in contemporary times.
Youth involvement in Theatre
Kiyimba envisions a revitalized theatre scene by actively involving the youth in the planning and creation of plays. He believes that by aligning theatrical productions with the preferences of the younger generation, the industry can boost attendance and appeal to a broader and more diverse audience. His recent performance in ‘The Golden Calabash’ by theatre legend John Segawa exemplifies this effort to bridge the gap between traditional theatre and the expectations of the youth.
Theatre as an Industry
In the vibrant landscape of Uganda’s entertainment industry, theatre takes center stage as a dynamic force that goes beyond the traditional realms of drama and plays. Far more than a stage for artistic expression, theatre emerges as a multifaceted industry, driven by the interplay of market forces, consumer demands, and cultural influences.
Uganda’s rich theatrical tapestry is not confined to the realm of artistic pursuits; it is a profession, a career, and a thriving business venture. From commercial productions to educational initiatives and even therapeutic performances, theatre serves diverse purposes, all united by a common goal: to cater to the unique needs and expectations of audiences.
Theatre in Uganda is predominantly a commercial endeavor, dictated by market forces. The market not only influences the content and production methods but also dictates how theatre products are marketed and consumed.
While the theatre business in Uganda faces its fair share of challenges – ranging from management and organizational issues to financial constraints – it also presents numerous opportunities. The industry, characterized by a commercial outlook, offers employment prospects for a burgeoning youth population. From record labels and studios to events promoters and entertainment bloggers, the demand for various roles within the sector creates a fertile ground for job creation.
Original story from The New Vision