JAZZ MOLL'S RANT AND EXPERIENCE IN THE U.K THEATRE COMPARED TO KENYA'S
I am a young actor and when I say young, I mean 17years of age..call me a teen if you like. I have just finished my IGCSE at Braeburn Gitanga and just returned from the UK from performing in the International Youth Arts Festival- IYAF. I performed in a play called “kesho amahoro"(peace tomorrow) at the rose theatre in Kingston, having flown all the way to UK with around 40 cast members where we joined up with a school in UK and other kids of ages 9-11 and performed the show.
Kesho Amahoro tells the story of unaccompanied minors in the Rwandese Refugee Camps of Northern Tanzania in 1994. Facing many setbacks and deep heartache the children remain positive and continue to believe in peace tomorrow. Kesho Amahoro is based on true events and follows the journey of Esperance and her siblings as they flee their country and arrive at Benaco refugee camp in Northern Tanzania. Determined to stay together, they join a resilient group of refugee street kids. Together they face endless difficulties but persevere through the tight bond of friendship and sheer determination. Kesho Amahoro is a celebration of the triumph of the human spirit but will there be peace tomorrow?
It was a sparkling success and we even enjoyed two standing ovations.
Now, here is my problem and where my rant begins. Upon returning to Kenya, my experience and exposure in the UK, my vibrancy and energy to start looking for auditions here in Kenya was fuelled to the maximum. Sadly, I think I would have had a better chance looking for flying pigs than to get auditions or roles that require someone in my age range/set. Where are those stories that need the young and not only old mature people? Where are kid dramas/shows? Are there no stories surrounding kids or are scriptwriters lazy to think outside the box?
Thats me carrying the white bag
While in the UK at the main entrance to the theatre, there were 3-4 plays with open auditions with parts for teens that I could possibly play. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not some English drama loving snob who thinks just because I have experienced the west for a minute I should now be an authority over matters at home. Truth of the matter is in Kenya, we are constantly talking about boosting the drama/theatre/film industry but at the end of the day, there are no opportunities designed for the youth or many opportunities that can go round. Very rarely are there any roles for young actors.
How do we boost the industry when we don’t want to get the next generation involved which would be more substantial in the long run?
Let me take a breather and give my ‘naïve’ and ‘optimistic’ ideals. After witnessing the IYAF, I ask, why can’t Kenya organise its own youth festival? Or for starters just an arts festival which can involve some youth? Or maybe even a national youth theatre to be formed?
There are talented young men and women out there just waiting for the opportunity, waiting for a different type of play to come out so as to run for the audition.
I don’t know if I got through to anyone. I’m sure most of you are probably thinking I’m just some kid who’s got his head stuck in the clouds. But we are young, if we don’t dream for our selves, who will?