Harare, March 3rd 2016 | Gideon Jeph Wabvuta
Gideon Jeph Wabvuta recently underwent a successful school application process in the United States. Here, he shares his amazing journey…
I have worked with Almasi since its first staged reading, A Raisin in the Sun while I was still a theatre student at the University of Zimbabwe. From the reading, I was fortunate to be accepted into the playwrights intensive which was run by Nikkole Salter where I was selected as the participant who was to be mentored by Nikkole.
This was followed by another staged reading of The Convert directed by Danai Gurira then the end of the year saw the full production being done where I reprised my role as Chilford. All this was a balancing act as I was still a student at the UZ, and during the full production of The Convert, I would go to an exam in the morning then rush to rehearsal. It wasn’t an easy task, but it clearly taught me resilience, hard work and discipline.
I graduated from college and went straight into theatre full time, and this saw participate in the actors intensive workshops by Andre Holland and Nyambi Nyambi. A directors mentorship program commenced, and I was fortunate to be part of which saw me take part in the play necessary targets directed by Julia Wharton, who was the mentoring director.
Months into it I finally got to direct my first staged reading which was Nongogo by Athol Fugard. I had a cast that comprised people who had a lot more experience than me, but the experience was intense and at the same time very educative.
The Almasi African Playwrights Festival followed right after that. I got to have my play Master’s Shoe developed under the guidance of Robert Egan and Stephen Belber. The experience enhanced my love for playwrighting which saw my craft grow. The final reading was a testament of the collaborative effort between the writer, director and actors. This led to me being invited to the Ojai Playwrights Conference by Robert Egan were I developed and performed my one-man show Mbare Dreams with him, Stephen Belber, Ron Lagormasino working with me closely.
The experience prompted me to apply to grad school for an MFA in Dramatic Writing as the playwrights, directors and dramaturgs prompted me to apply which I did. February 2016, University Of Southern California offers me a place, University of California Los Angeles does the same and Yale flies me over for an interview right after I directed one of my favourite plays ever, Fences by August Wilson!