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Art

Wangari Maathai the Musical in packed theatre period

Walter Sitati with director Gilbert Lukalia
Wangari Maathai playwright Walter Sitati with director Gilbert Lukalia. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU 

While Heartstrings’ ‘Double Trouble’ runs this weekend at Nairobi Cinema and the ‘improv’ team of ‘Because You Said So’ has a show next Saturday, August 10, at The Junction, lots are happening on the horizon in Kenyan theatre.

Kenyan writers, directors and producers have gotten in gear, preparing shows for now as well as the rest of this year and next.

In the immediate, next Wednesday, August 7, Kenyatta University’s Emmanuel Shikuku has revived David Mulwa’s classic script, ‘Redemption’. It will only be staged for one day, at 3pm and 6pm at Kenya Cultural Centre’s Ukumbi Mdogo.

Kikuyu theatre is also alive and well as Fanaka Arts Theatre is staging ‘Hihinya Ihuha’ the following weekend, from August 9 at Alliance Francaise. And the weekend after that, on Friday, August 16, Prevail Arts Company will revive Martin Kigondu’s ‘Matchstick Man’ also at Ukumbi Mdogo.

As exciting as all this upcoming activity is, what may be the theatrical event of the year is Hearts of Art’s original creation of ‘Wangari Maathai the Musical.’ It certainly must be one of the more ambitious projects that HOA’s founder and playwright Walter Sitati has embarked on.

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But he has also received lots of support both from his theatre company and Gilbert Lukalia who Sitati says came up with the bright idea first.

“I had actually been thinking about such a project, but when Gilbert brought it up, I knew we had to do it,” says Sitati, who is responsible for virtually all the scripts that Hearts of Art has produced since he formed the company. Gilbert is directing the show.

But as it’s scheduled to open in November, he and Walter are still casting. In any case, this is a show to highly anticipate.

The other amazing news comes on the heels of ‘Sarafina’s finale last Sunday night. At the insistence of Culture Secretary Amina Mohamed, Nairobi Performing Arts Studio is bringing back the musical! The earliest booking Sarafina’s producer-director Stuart Nash could get at KNT is October 4-6. So be prepared to get tickets early.

Finally, NPAS also plans to put on Nairobi Half-Life and Lion King early next year. And this October, NPAS brings ‘Blood Brothers the Musical’ to the University of Nairobi.

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