I’m not entirely sure when it is that I fell in love with live performance.
Like you know you love your parents without question, perhaps, I have always loved it. I have always thought it to be magical. It’s an entirely new world that you get to experience in real-time, a story that moves you as you go on this journey toward the conclusion of the story.
I am not entirely sure of this, but I have a theory that the 3D movie experience was introduced because immersive storytelling is more appealing than watching this story separated by a screen. But this is not true for theater.
I do remember my first experience with a live theatre performance. I was all of 10 and Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames was breezing into town. This performance frightened me into Christianity. But, even in my fright over going to hell for thinking bad thoughts, I was enamoured by the performance. I was transported to heaven and hell and I was thrown in a story about the fight for the human soul and I was amazed by the actors that embodied these characters that for a very long time I believed were just confined to a book.
To enter a theater for a performance is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination.Simon Callow
I love to read. It is no secret that I love to read. I mean, it’s plastered all over the public spaces that I am in. I believe that reading is a form of transport to a new world. And so is theatre. Theatre is an enduring art form that has captivated so many people in times past. It is the mother of Moving Pictures but even then, it far surpasses it in the physicality of the performances. And the fact that the actors have no option but to be perfect in their delivery of lines and their embodiment of the characters from the start of the play to the end.
While some have argued that theatre is a fading art form, its enduring significance in our culture remains undeniable. Theatre serves as a vital force in nurturing creativity across various fields and disciplines. Even amid discussions about its relevance, the question persists for both enthusiasts and artists: What makes theatre indispensable? What makes us need to see stories performed to us?
The first answer to this is: Theatre serves as a powerful tool for fostering empathy and strengthening our connection to the community. Through its exploration of dialogue, monologue, story and character, theater exposes us to diverse perspectives that might have otherwise escaped our awareness. Engaging with this art form allows us to exercise our empathy muscles, ultimately contributing to a deeper understanding of the human experience. In essence, theater offers a unique window into what it means to be human.
I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.Oscar Wilde
You know the adage, “All the world’s a stage?” It suggests that theatre more than just mere entertainment. It is a mirror for the society. Numerous theatrical genres are expressly designed to prompt audiences to contemplate and analyze, encouraging a deeper understanding of oneself and the surrounding world through the unfolding narratives on stage. In Uganda, we have seen playwrights writing on issues that are happening around us, amusing us but also instructing and imparting moral lessons.
For my love for theatre, I am grateful for people like the Tebere Arts Foundation. Tebere has imbued the theatre world with a new life. The stories they have told, the lives they have transformed, and the impact they have had on art is something that will live on in the history books.
Besides putting up extremely fantastic plays like Rope and Tropical Fish, they have workshopped other plays like Killing Time… and, to the point of this article, the Kampala International Theatre Festival.
The Kampala International Theatre Festival (KITF) is an annual five-day event held in November in Kampala, Uganda. Launched in November 2014, KITF serves as a vital platform for fostering professionalism among theatre practitioners in East Africa. The festival’s primary objectives include establishing connections among East African theatre-making communities and facilitating interaction with their counterparts from other regions. KITF plays a crucial role in expanding access to theatre and cultivating new audiences by actively supporting and facilitating the creation and presentation of high-quality and culturally relevant theatre productions.
This year, KITF celebrates 10 years and you have to be there to see the amazingness that they will put up. The 5-day pass is just 60,000UGX, however, you can get a day pass for only 30,000UGX. Check out the website, for the full festival schedule and what to expect this year.
I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s in store.
If you need me, I will be at the theatre.