Curtains up for national drama festivals

Daniel Owira, President Uhuru Kenyatta's adopted son, when he presented a narrative 'Men of God' for Multimedia University during the Kenya Universities Performing Arts Association at Technical University of Kenya last week. [George Orido, Standard]
The 59th edition of the annual Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festival opens tomorrow in Nairobi.

Teams have started arriving in the city for the big fete that attracts about 150,000 participants at the national level for the festivalthat will be held at Lenana, Moi Nairobi Girls, State House, and Dagoretti High schools.

The festival will be overseen by a fresh team of the national executive committee chaired by Prof Christopher Odhiambo of Moi University.

“It's all systems go and we are prepared to see a successful festival that will leave our children educated and empowered,” said the new executive secretary, James Indimuli, who noted that this year’s theme of fostering national cohesion through film and dramacould not have come at a better time.

The banning of champions Lwak and Oginde girls' schools has cast a shadow on the festival, with pundits asking questions whether the competition still maintains the right of children to perform and express themselves.

Banning the schools' plays, the Nyanza coordinating quality assurance officer had cited lateness for the sanction.

This year will also see the first-ever universities-only festival under the auspices of the Kenya Universities Performing Arts Association (Kupaa) holding a parallel event at Presbyterian University in Nairobi.

Last week, more than 10 universities attended the Metropolitan Kupaa regional festival at the Technical University of Nairobi.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's ‘son’ David Owira was in his element when he led Multi Media University narrative team in a comical rendition that put them ahead of University of Nairobi and hosts Technical University of Kenya.

The narrative titled Men of God depicts a man committed to making money at all costs, including pretence.

His group is accosted by police and has to hide in a coffin stolen from a cemetery.

The thieves get 'saved' after serving jail terms.

Mount Kenya University was the adjudicator’s delight with the play Dangerous Games by Peter Onyancha.

“For the first time we will have a drama festival exclusively for universities under the auspices of Higher University Education and Research in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports and Heritage under the State Department of Arts and Culture,” said Patrick Oguttu of Technical University and secretary general of Kupaa.

According to the chairman, Murumba Wangamati of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, the Kupaa festival runs from April 6 to 9.

He explained that it was necessary to have a separate festival because of unique stylistic devices that universities want to explore.

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