KUENDA Productions have embarked on a second tour of Germany with their musical, dance and theatre piece titled "Twenty Fifteen". This follows the success of their Harare and Bulawayo premiere in September last year followed by the first tour of Europe in November at the Festival Africtions which was well received.
Having performed six times so far to sold-out shows in Munich and Heidleberg, the team will also take their performance to Frankfurt before taking the show to Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg and back to Munich.
In an interview, one of the founder members, Plot Mhako, said he was happy with the tour which he described as the second success story in Europe.
"The idea is to follow the vision of sustainable artistic, trans-global collaboration. We want to create an artistic network on eye level with artistes from different continents, backgrounds, styles and share visions of a forward-looking and understanding of the arts, developing new ideas of what art can be through mutual learning. The team is in Germany for close to two months showcasing their talent and attending festivals," he said.
Mhako is expected to join his team this week in Germany and said the production is the next big thing to happen in Zimbabwe.
He said the cast comprises mbira songbird Hope Masike, NAMA award winner Mayleane Chenjerayi, prominent beat-boxer Probeatz, dancers Tanaka Lionel Roki, Yeukai Zinyoro, Kelvin Campbell and another NAMA-winning actor, Tafadzwa Hananda.
Choreographer Antonio Bukharand Ronald Kibirige from Uganda, project director Cindy Jaenicke, artistic director Atif Hussein, Tobias Schulze, Xaver Xylophon, Kilian Unger (all from Germany), Pascale Firholz from France and Olivia Marinoni from Switzerland are also part of the team.
During the tour, Kuenda documentary projects will be screened while a concert dubbed "Beats Meet Strings" by Masike, Probeatz, Kibirige and Unger will be staged.
"Our last stop for the production is the city of Konstanz, where we will stage two shows. Apart from the play, as artistes in the production we are also running several workshops and training programmes with the local schools and communities where we are teaching dance, beat-box, music and theatre," said Mhako.
The production house is the brainchild of Cindy Jaenicke, a German theatre practitioner; Mhako, the arts manager of Jibilika Dance Trust; and Bukhar, a Ugandan dance choreographer and founder of Arts 2 Hearts project.
"Twenty Fifteen" was written by US-based Sierra Leone artiste Olufemi Terry and includes a cast of 17 versatile artistes drawn from five different countries, namely Switzerland, Uganda, Germany, France and Zimbabwe.
"The musical talks about a young generation, from and in-between Zimbabwe and Germany, their struggles, dreams and aspirations. It further explores the life of young people in two worlds and their internal and physical struggles in the search for meaning and identity.
"This is portrayed through music, dance, beat-box and theatre as the story of a teenager born of a German mother and a Zimbabwean father tracks down her roots to Zimbabwe in search of herself.
"Her discovery is moving as expressed through the scintillating play which provokes the audience to think, ask questions, cry and smile as it tackles issues of identity through powerful art," explained Mhako.
He said the current tour is receiving rave reviews from several leading German media houses.
"Having eight Zimbabweans in the project will go a long way in boosting the country's image on a global scale as well as uplifting and inspiring the local arts scene," Mhako said.