Kenyan art is rapidly gaining momentum at skyrocketing speed and achieving remarkable success in various art competitions, festivals, and events both locally and globally. The recent Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) witnessed Kenya’s triumph, with Click Click Bang winning Best Movie in East Africa and Njoro Wa Uba being recognized as the Best Original Comedy Series in Africa. These outstanding productions exemplify Kenya’s prowess in the art industry. In addition to this, the stellar representation of Kenyan talent extends to the African Monologue Challenge, a pan-African Theatre Project currently taking place at the National Theatre in Accra, Ghana. Nyokabi Macharia and Stycie Waweru are proudly showcasing their theatrical skills, adding to the historic and exceptional moments in our artistic journey as an industry. It is truly an exciting time to witness the growth and recognition of Kenyan art on a global scale.
PAN-AFRICAN ARTS & CULTURAL EXCHANGE
Kenyan theatre arts attained a significant milestone yesterday, 24th May 2023, as Nyokabi Macharia, an acclaimed actor, embarked on a journey to represent both the art industry and the country in the African Monologue Challenge, held at Ghana’s National Theatre. This competition, which spanned a year and involved actors from across Africa, has seen Nyokabi Macharia and Stycie Waweru from Kenya, emerge as finalists among the initial 400 participants. This achievement serves as a testament to the remarkable talent and potential of our practitioners, not only within our local sphere but also on an international stage. Organized by Ghana’s MK Casting, the African Monologue Challenge featured a rigorous virtual selection process, reducing the participants to 10 finalists who will compete in the grand finale on May 27th, 2023. Kenya’s presence in this prestigious competition signifies the opportunity to expand and showcase our art and culture to a global audience, contributing to the potential and economic growth of our industry. It also prompts us to consider the balance between consuming external art and culture and exporting our own creative expressions to the world
CONTRIBUTION & MANDATE OF STAKEHOLDERS
During a meeting held yesterday, 24th May 2023, to see off Nyokabi Macharia as she departed for Accra, Ghana, deliberate discussions took place regarding the Pan-African theatre project and its implications towards the exchange and exportation of Kenyan art and culture on an international level. The meeting emphasized the contributions and mandate of stakeholders in the industry in advancing this conversation into tangible actions. The government, particularly the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Sports, and the Arts, has displayed keen interest and commitment to elevating the Kenyan art industry. This commitment was exemplified by the Kenya Cultural Centre incorporating the National Theatre providing Nyokabi Macharia with a return flight ticket to facilitate her travel to Accra for the ongoing competition. Other significant stakeholders include independent private theatre companies, Theatre Art practitioners, Theatre Art groups, Theatre Art marketing companies/agencies and Theatre Art spaces, all of whom have a vital role and contribution to play in realizing the exchange and exportation of Kenyan art and culture. This prompted critical questions during the meeting, such as; whether the stakeholders possess a clear understanding of their individual and collective mandates, what specific contributions they have made or are currently making to advance this conversation, whether there is a central meeting point for all stakeholders, and the level of comprehension of the theatre art industry by the government. Addressing these questions will challenge the stakeholders to refine and enhance operations within the Theatre Art industry
THE STATUS OF THE KENYAN THEATRE ARTS INDUSTRY
The theatre arts industry in Kenya has played a vital role in entertaining, educating the public, and preserving cultural aspects over the years. However, sustainability beyond individual talent and passion raises important questions. Like a house welcoming a visitor, the industry must ensure its structure is in order. Are the rooms well-defined? Is there a unified structure for its members? What are the goals of inviting the government as a visitor? Collaborations, partnerships and a blend with the government, and corporate organizations require addressing these questions. Unfortunately, the industry lacks a well-established and institutionalized association to support its practitioners. Could the government’s support be instrumental in forming such an association through policy? These answers lie within the theatre arts community. Before inviting external support, the industry must organize itself to create a defined space for collaboration.
Upon their return from Ghana on May 31, 2023, Nyokabi Macharia and Stycie Waweru’s participation in the competition raises the question of what comes next for the Kenyan art industry. To answer this question, we must delve into the layers it encompasses. Kenya prides herself on a rich cultural heritage, but how far are we willing to go to unlock the potential and economic growth of the art industry? Is it possible to get a systemized registration process of Theatre arts practitioners and companies through the umbrella of Kenya cultural Centre? Can the Centre acquire and keep this data for further effective use beneficial to the industry practitioners? What will it take for the theatre arts industry to institutionalize an active and working association/organization? All stakeholders have crucial roles to play. The real challenge lies in their commitment of time, effort, and resources to propel the industry to the next level. The conversation has been ignited once again; theory is cheap, but it is the dedicated action and full commitment that will enable the industry realize its untapped value, locally and internationally
Extend your support to Nyokabi Macharia and Stycie Waweru by voting for them through https://www.africamonologue.com/vote-2/
For masterclasses on Arts visit; https://academy.sanaapost.com/