In the third edition of the Geraldine Roche Drama (GRD) competition, only two groups and the defending champions made it to the finals, slated for Bulawayo Theatre on April 10. During the knockout competitions, competition debutants outshone the better-known groups and qualified for the finals.
The two finalists stood out with their enthusiasm, creativity and energy, which is what the competition had lacked in the past.
In an interview, the director of Thy Stanislavsky theatre group, Mr Michael Muderere, a young man aged 20, said he feels motivated and encouraged to work much harder.
“I took it to be a challenge to face bigger and famous groups considering that I am a young and upcoming director. I think it was high time someone challenged them. The knock out competitions gave us courage for the competition, and I hope to win against other provinces. I take that the involvement with GRD competitions is a learning curve. I don’t have any fears, but the desire to learn more,” he said.
An audience member, who was religiously following Bulawayo elimination rounds, Mr Elton Sebekhona Sibanda, said Saturday's drama competition was very fierce.
“I learnt a lot from the creativity and artistry of the directors and actors. That these were young people's productions shows that the future of the arts in Bulawayo and Zimbabwe as a whole is bright. The two groups that qualified to the finals immensely impressed me. The energy and teamwork that they displayed was phenomenal. I am excited to see how they all battle it out in the finals. It's going to be a show not to miss,” said Mr Sibanda.
GRD competitions cover Bulawayo Metropolitan, Matabeleland South and North provinces.
Last week, six groups from the three provinces qualified for the finals, namely Jahunda Community Arts and Loxion Theatre group from Mat South, Thy Stanislavsky theatre and Collado from Bulawayo, Vulindlela and Pezhuba from Matabeleland North.
Defending champions Roar, automatically have a spot in the finals making them the seventh participant.
The competition uses drama and film to deliver messages and raise awareness on issues affecting communities while at the same time, creating employment opportunities for the youth by sharpening their drama skills.
Bambelela Arts, last year's winners from Bulawayo starred in three plays, which were a collaboration between Bulawayo-based Geraldine Roche and Harare’s Jason Mphepo Little Theatre.