5 Minutes with Deborah Asiimwe

By Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa

Deborah Asiimwe is the festival director of Kampala International Theatre Festival. She’s one of the busiest people on the compound of Ndere Cultural Centre because she is coordinating a lot of things. However, this Sunday afternoon, I am able to corner her for about 5 minutes to ask her a few things about the festival.

What would you want the outputs for the next edition of this festival to be?

I am interested in three things mainly. Developing pre-festival activities for the festival which would include training workshops for actors, playwrights; and having actual play development. Creating a festival feel with more spaces and interaction between the audiences and the creators and working with other forms of media – having festival footage and incorporating more digital media.

How Influential do you see Kampala International Theatre Festival.

I am looking at the festival being a household name by 2020. I’d very much love it to be one of the eminent names on the year’s arts calendar, not just in Uganda but internationally. I’d love for it to be the kind of festival that publicises itself.

I am also keen on finding younger people with an interest in theatre keen on embracing this project as theirs. Younger minds with a passion for theatre who understand that profits are long term targets in the arts.

I would love for it to be a space where young people are getting skills.

I’m keen on having schools be present with their students at the festival, at least in the workshops observing so they can from an early age, pick up the passion and the skills.

I also would love for it to be a space for innovation in the arts. After watching Barzakh, you get the sense that one of our people should be able to create technological innovations that address different things in not just theatre but the arts.

The interview has to end because we are going into another session, however it is a privilege being let into what some of her hopes for the festival are. One cannot miss the fact that arts festivals in Uganda are labours of love and from her energy throughout the festival you notice she loves theatre and is keen on sharing this with artists not just from home but even outside home.

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