Almasi gives thespian US scholarship
By Showbiz Writer
Almasi Collaborative Arts has given rising theatre practitioner Gideon Jeph Wabvuta the Walter Muparitsa Fellowship for Artist of Excellence Award.
Almasi made the announcement in a statement Wednesday and said hard work and excellence made the selection a natural one.
“We truly believe in his future and that at heart he deeply exemplifies the commitment, pioneering spirit of the late Mr Muparutsa,” said the statement.
The fellowship will allow Wabvuta to undertake studies for an MFA in Playwriting Program at the University of Southern California, where he has already received a partial scholarship.
“USC has a very competitive program and we congratulate Mr Wabvuta for being offered a spot. We are thrilled that he will now be enabled to undertake his studies and further his professional growth,” the statement said.
Wabvuta said he was honoured to be receiving the award.
“It is a great honour to receive this grant and I feel entrusted with a giant responsibility. It’s one big step in the quest to better our own Zimbabwean industry as I hope to feedback into it. I truly thank Almasi Alliance and the Muparutsa family for availing this grant. I aim to make you proud,” he said.
Mrs S Muparutsa said: “Once again I am so excited that Gideon Jeph Wabvuta has been awarded the Walter Muparutsa Fellowship Artist of Excellence Award. I am sure he will make it. He is a very good guy. At the same time, I don’t know how to thank Danai. She has been so good by ploughing back into the country,” she said.
Wabvuta is a Harare based playwright and actor who studied B.A Honors in Theatre Arts at the University of Zimbabwe and has featured in a number of professional productions as an actor including.
Among the plays are The Father, The Convert and No Cause.
He has also taken part in the Almasi Collaborative Arts staged reading series in plays like A Raisin in the Sun, No Good Friday and The Elephant man.
Wabvuta has featured in a reading of The Year of the Bicycle at the Cell theater in New York. As a director, directed two staged readings, Fences by August Wilson and Nongogo by Athol Fugard.
In the realm of playwriting, he developed Master’s Shoe at the Almasi African Playwrights Festival 2015 which saw him being invited to the Ojai Playwrights Conference by Artistic Director Robert Egan.
At Ojai 2015 he developed and performed a one-man show Mbare Dreams which he again performed an excerpt of at the 2016 TCG pre-conference in Washington DC as a result of an Almasi collaboration with TCG.
He has also written Remorse is Forever which was performed at the Youth Cultural Arts Festival, Dzimbabwedande an adaptation of a novel which he turned into a three-hour production and Men Vs Women at the Harare International Festival of the arts (HIFA).
He has featured at the premium festivals in Zimbabwe as a writer and actor. For television, he co-wrote and directed a T.V series You owe me which was shown on national television.
In 2014 Gideon was partly engaged by an organization that does theatre for development in marginalized communities where they dealt with issues to do with gender-based violence, human rights and, poverty alleviation. He recently completed a summer internship at The Public Theater in New York as an Almasi fellow. Gideon’s ultimate artistic goal is to write plays that will speak of and about his people to the world.
The Walter Muparutsa Fellowship is an initiative of Almasi in honour of the late Veteran Zimbabwean Actor, Director and Producer, Walter Lambert Muparutsa. The fellowship is administered through Almasi Arts Alliance, the sister organization to Almasi Collaborative Arts.
The fellowship’s purpose is to facilitate African Dramatic Artists of exceptional ability and promise who have economic need with their professional and educational development.
The grant provides the artists with an opportunity to focus exclusively on their artistic development and experience relief from every day expenses over the course of educational and professional programs.