Thespians rev up to make great theatre this year

Too Early for Birds’ ‘Tom Mboya’ starred Xavier Ywaya with Pauline Kyalo
Too Early for Birds’ ‘Tom Mboya’ starred Xavier Ywaya with Pauline Kyalo. PHOTO | MARGARETTA WA GACHERU | NMG 

This year is already shaping up to be as electrifying as its predecessor. Already we have been given notice from several local playwrights and producers that fresh new works are coming soon.

Wangari Maathai the Musical is the most highly anticipated production that Walter Sitati and Hearts of Art intend to stage sometime this year. Sitati has several other new scripts to produce so his pipeline is full.

Heartstrings Entertainment already has its new Good for Nothing comedy set from February 6-9 back at Alliance Francaise. Last year Sammy Mwangi staged all his shows at Nairobi Cinema, but many fans will be happy returning to Alliance.

The other major plan in the works for 2020 is the NBO Musical Theatre Initiative coming forth with all 11 fresh new musicals. The first four are bound to be those that went to Uganda in December to be staged at the Kampala Internatioanl Theatre Festival.

They are Pani Puri with Aleya Kassam and Eric Wainaina, Apostle Dennis scripted by Mugambi Nthege, Kabaseke, based on the life of the legendary musician and Weaver Bird which tells the story of the Mau Mau Field Marshall Muthoni Kirima, who was the only woman to achieve that rank in the Land and Freedom Army. Muthoni is alive and consulting with Aleya, Laura Ekumbo and Anne Moraa to ensure the veracity of their work. But all 11 are exciting works in progress.


Mbeki Mwalimu and Back to Basics also have a show coming in March. Meanwhile, most of the playwrights whose plays were produced in 2019 have scripts in progress. It’s true of Bilal Mwaura whose first plays were staged by Nice Githinji’s new troupe, JiNice ViSafe productions.

Peter Tosh whose company Liquid Arts staged Saumu Kombo’s Before Dawn is also writing scripts to stage this year. Meanwhile, Seth Busolo, Martin Kigondu, Justin Mirichii and Joseph Murungu are all promising new scripts for staging this year.

Meanwhile, the Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui was so pleased with Nairobi Performing Arts Studio’s staging of Sarafina both at the Nakuru Players Theatre and out on the town’s main road in 2019 that he may be doing more with NPAS this year.

In any case, NPAS’ Stuart Nash has big plans for 2020, one of which is to hold a countrywide search for someone to play Michael Jackson in the musical Michael.