He Started With Geraldine Roche Drama, Now His Star Shines in the Bulawayo Arts Industry

  • Written by: Tafadzwa Mazviba

Image copyright: ZDDT.org.

The Geraldine Roche Drama is an initiative that started off as a means to empower youth who were interested in drama in 2018 and has since developed into full-scale theatre, street drama, film production and a new budding arts academy.

One of the very first GRD participants, Michael Muderere (pictured), took time to chat with our journalist Tafadzwa Masviba on what has transpired since then.

Taffy: How did you come to be a part of the GRD programme?

Michael: I became involved in the Geraldine Roche Drama Competitions in 2018 through my passion for performing arts. I had heard about the competitions 2 days after I had come from South Africa from a theatre workshop held at the Market Theatre and I was eager to participate in the competitions, but I didn't have a group to join.

Fortunately, one of my former high school friends Ntandoyenkosi Mpande was part of a reputable theatre group called Langelitsha Arts which was already taking part in the GRD competitions and he introduced me to the group. That’s how I joined GRD and became part of the competitions.

Taffy: Coming in new into a collapsing arts industry, what has been your experience with GRD?

Michael: Taking part at the Geraldine Roche Drama competitions has been an invaluable experience in my career. It has given me the opportunity to showcase my talents on a national stage and has helped me to build important connections within the performing arts community. It has also given me the confidence to pursue my passion and take risks in my career.

Geraldine Roche Drama has been able to advance my career. First, the competitions have given me the exposure and the opportunities to showcase my talents to a wider audience through a short film called Short Dynamites which was my first film. I got the chance to share the stage with Gift Chakuvinga, Ronald Sigeca and Cadrick Msongelwa.

I also got the chance to perform at Mitambo International Theatre Festival which was my first international festival to take part in when I was 18years and have done performances with Bambelela Arts Ensemble. The programme has helped me to build connections with industry professionals like William Nyandoro, Raisedon Baya, T. H Moyo and Witness (Bambelela Arts Director).

Taffy: It has come to my attention you now have your own arts group. Tell us more about Stanis Theatre?

Michael: The experience gained from GRD has given me valuable skills and insights of directing through its workshops and I have managed to employ the knowledge I acquired in founding Stanis Theatre in 2021. We then participated in the competition and came up in first position in the same year, beating reputable theatre groups from Gwanda, Hwange, Lupane and Bulawayo with our play INYEMBEZI.

Stanis Theatre is dedicated to mobilising young people to capacitate them in delivering professional thought provocative theatre plays that are set to inspire change in communities and the nation at large and has received several awards and also has managed to help a number of school groups like Tamaa Arts which was led by Witness Timothy Hadebe, Vukuzakhe Theatre, Jubilee Academy and Mandwandwe high school.

Stanis Theatre has also some of its members like Vanessa Tsuro who has performed in big festivals like Intwasa Arts Festival, done projects with Bambelela Arts Ensemble and Shawn Kembo, who has taken part in Amplifying Girls Voices Films and taking a lead role in the Nama Best Outstanding Short Film (Ikasi, The Hood)

Taffy: What does the future hold for you?

Michael: Currently, we are pushing two of our plays, Labourer 23, which was conceived and performed by Vanessa Tsuro and is being performed on the 21st of February at the Bulawayo Public Library and The Uncondomized Truth which is directed by me and Michael Makatini, whom we met at the Geraldine Roche Drama.