THE annual Youth Cultural Arts Festival (Yocaf) which enters its fifth year this year will be held from July 30 to August 1 in Masvingo.
Running under the theme I Will Act Now the festival will also give the Walter Muparutsa Award which was introduced last year in memory of the late iconic theatre practitioner who died of cancer in 2012.
Yocaf organisers yesterday said this year the festival would take a different approach.
"Owing to overwhelming response from schools and the growth of the Festival, we will, this year, be introducing Yocaf Provincial Preliminaries," said Leeroy Gono, Yocaf artistic director.
Yocaf board member Professor Herbert Chimhundu said the theme of this year's festival could be translated in different dimensions.
"I – is reflective of the self or society; Will – shows commitment and confidence; Act – is to do, a very clear agenda; Now – there is no need for procrastination. When young people speak with such resolve and confidence, it gives hope for the future," said Chmhundu.
Gono said Yocaf seeks to foster the development of dramatic arts in the provinces and the nation at large.
"Zimbabweans are extremely expressive and have a rich history of music, drama and dance. The political and social situation in the country is such that theatrical expression is vital to provide a form of entertainment as well as an avenue for discussion and public dialogue for artistes and audiences alike," Gono said.
"As we celebrate our fifth edition, we challenge daughters, sons, mothers and fathers to act now. Good quality theatre will build more interest in theatre; more interest in theatre will in turn build more good quality theatre."
The Yocaf Provincial Preliminaries will be initially held in five provinces namely, Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands, Bulawayo and Harare.
The difference with this year's festival is that schools have to qualify for the grand fete.
From each qualifying stage, three top schools will get the opportunity to battle it out at the finals in Masvingo.
Gono said the preliminaries will be held between March and April and all interested schools should register by February 6.