British Council presents four acts at HIFA


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The British Council, a longstanding partner of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), has once again teamed up with the festival to showcase the best of British and local talent by bringing four acts to the HIFA stage.

This year’s line up at HIFA includes a hip-hop dance performance by Bird Gang Dance Company, two Theatre productions; HeLa performed by Adura Onashile and the Royal Court Zimbabwean Voices performed by various renowned actors including Michael Kudakwashe, Eunice Tava , Anthony Tongani and Teddy Mangava.

Bird Gang Dance Company is highly respected in both hip-hop and commercial dance circles.

They have performed and produced work both in the United Kingdom and internationally including at The Place, Breaking Convention, Sadlers Wells, Pavilion Dance, South Bank Centre, Barbican, Stratford Circus, San Francisco Dance Fest, and The Young Vic to name a few.

They will do a presentation of A Vice in Harlem on 1 and 2 May at the ZB Bank Reps Theatre.

This work, where renaissance and contemporary hip-hop collide is a timeless story of jealousy, ambition, love, guilt, power and desire told through Bird Gang’s very own movement style “aaheehop” and lindy hop, featuring a number of exciting artists including an eclectic score by Mercury Prize nominee Soweto Kinch.

HeLa production will be performed on 1 and 2 May at the Standard Theatre, presented by the British Council and the British Embassy.

In a statement, British Council programmes officer Extra-Blessing Kuchera said, “The play is a story of a woman, Henrietta Lacks, whose cell sample, taken without her permission was used as the raw material for some of the most important scientific discoveries of the past 100 years.”

HeLa is an engaging exploration of the vast scientific progress made possible by the cells of one, unknown woman.

It is an astonishing story about ethics, equality and ownership of our DNA.

“The solo show by Adura Onashile takes as its inspiration the true life of Henrietta Lacks,” he added.

The Royal Court Zimbabwean Voice will be presented by British Council, British Embassy and Royal Court Theatre Company of London on 1, 2 and 3 May at the ZB Bank Reps Theatre Upstairs.

These are fifteen minute performances of excerpts from nine plays featuring some of Zimbabwe’s best actors such as Michael Kudakwashe, Eunice Tava, Teddy Mangava, Antony Tongani, and Eve Mwatse, among others.

Kuchera said, “The animated performances are funny, innovative and thought-provoking and address contemporary issues in Zimbabwean society.”

He added that “the plays are the result of playwriting workshops run by the Royal Court over the past two years which has resulted in the new pieces which will be showcased on a public stage for the first time at this year’s edition of HIFA.”

The Participating script writers are Elizabeth Muchemwa, Kevin Hansen, Nelson Mapako, Nonhlalo Dube, Musekiwa Samuriwo, Rudo Mutangadura, Mgcini Nyoni, Privillage Mutendera and Blessing Hungwe.