Nairobi Performing Arts studio has partnered with the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture to offer a four-week free online course in singing and acting for high school students during current school break.
The partnership will see students interested in singing and acting undergoing the training virtually through Google Meet platform.
The courses are mostly practical and aimed at nurturing talents, keeping students busy as well as learning and having fun.
“We wanted to do our part during the current coronavirus crisis and I thought it would be nice to offer free online classes in acting and singing to help parents keep their children occupied during the current school closures while at the same time learning something and having fun,” Nairobi Performing Arts Studio director Nash Stuart said.
The classes, will be conducted online using the Google Meet platform, a video conferencing app that enables users to make video calls with up to 30 users per high-definition video meeting.
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“The students can either use their phones or laptops to connect to Google Meet Platform where they can access the training. We are open to all students across Kenya,” Stuart said.
The training is slated to run for four weeks from May 7, and already over 150 students have registered from Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Busia, Eldoret, Kisumu, Kisii and other towns.
Renowned actress, music lecturer and and singer Hellen Mtawali, is one the lecturers slated to be teaching the singing class among other courses.
“We have developed a four-week curriculum which covers the basic skills actors and singers require. The course also prepares students for the intermediate course which we will also offer for free if the school closures are extended,” Stuart added.
The learners will also be given assignments to work on during the week.
“These assignments will engage learners more on practical work which they might not be able to do during the lessons,” he added.
While registering the students for the courses, he said parents are also involved to verify if the students are indeed in high school and also support them during the period.
Stuart said the current response for online courses has inspired the performing Arts studio to consider more of such programmes in future.
“We have had such a great response and we will have to look to the future and see how we can help nurture Kenya’s young talent to thrive in much the same way as we do with our adult students,” he added.
As as coronavirus pandemic bites, the studio moved its Production class online almost five weeks ago and it seems to have picked well.
And while Performing Arts courses has fast shifted to virtual learning, the behind the scenes production of Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Ngaahika Ndeenda (I will Marry when I want) is also being done online.
The play, which was co-written by by Ng?g? wa Mirii and Ng?g? wa Thiong’o was first produced in Kenya in 1977 but was banned just after six weeks of stage plays following what was termed as portrayal of post-colonial struggles.
Again, in 1990 the play was banned. And now after 30 years on hold, the play is expected to boldly grace the Kenyan theatres with production meets currently being done online.
The play, was slated to make a comeback in theatres by June this year but the current pandemic had affected the timelines.