The annual Kenya National Drama Festivals for educational institutions have started after a long hiatus with the outbreak of the coronavirus.
According to A.G Rukaria, addressing on behalf of the Principal Secretary of the state department for early learning and basic education, the Ministry of Education has allowed the return of co-curricular activities such as drama and film festivals.
This comes after the Covid 19 social distancing guidelines abruptly halted open-air festivals across the country, putting an end to what some critics anticipated would be the end of such gatherings. They believed that the days of enormous casts and spectators on stage were numbered.
The event’s comeback was a victorious one for the participants, both trainers and performers, who had been absent for over three years. It wasn’t all about winners and losers this time, as Nairobi region chairwoman Rahab Wanjohi stated at the end of the event.
“Stage presentations with live performers and audiences have been in limbo since 2019. Just hosting the event after such a long time of uncertainty is a victory for us all. We have eagerly been waiting for this moment,” said Ms Wanjohi.
Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, and Machakos technical training colleges (TTIs) participated. Plays, cultural creative dances, spoken word, choral and solo verses, standup comedy, mime and contemporary creative dance were among the genres represented. Most universities avoided the normally engaging oral story category for whatever reason.
Chairman of the Northern Region Event Corpenicus Musyoki said that this year’s festival had high-level performances. He linked this to the eagerness of trainers and performers to restart creative activity adding that the participants had been rehearsing in limited circumstances and had been waiting for so long to show off their skill.
It’s as if the performances have been bottled up in them all this time, waiting for a chance to come out, the performers have had a lot of time to hone their talents and they should keep up the high standards” said Musyoki.
The spoken word category, which garnered the most entrants for a genre, nine, was fiercely competitive. Many individuals wonder what “spoken word” means. Spoken word poetry are composed with the intention of being performed. Rhythm, improvisation, rhymes, word play, and slang are all used extensively. Masaai TTI got first place in this category, followed by KIST and Thika TTI. Wote TTI, KCTI, Kasarani TVC, PC Kinyanjui TTI, Nairobi TTI and Machakos TIB were among the other participants.
The much awaited plays category was won by Kasarani TVC KCITI and Nairobi TTI were the first and second runners up. The standup comedy genre attracted only two entrants, Wote TTI and Kasarani TVC.The modern creative dance category, which was highly popular among the young participants, was also quite competitive, with artists outdoing each other in doing current dance techniques that older generations would find difficult to fathom. It would have been impossible for an audience member to assess but the adjudicators judged that Thika TTI, KIST, and Wote TTI out-gyrated the others with their flowing performances at the conclusion of the day. Kasarani TVC, Nairobi TTI, and Masai TTI all performed admirably.