The Botswana Association of Theatre Activists (BAOTA) newly elected committee has vowed to push for the development of theatre to reach most parts of the country.
BAOTA public relations officer, Rebaone Moshabi has told Showbiz that the association has received complaints from members of the public that most of the theatre activities are concentrated in Gaborone. He said that they complain very little has been happening in other parts of the country.
“We believe there are other potential star actors in other parts of this country, youngsters who need some inspiration, but will not get the exposure if we do not take theatre to those areas. We need to groom as many actors as possible instead of having a few shining examples like David Molosi and Lorato Motshwarakgole. That can only happen if we cast our net wide,” Moshabi said.
He appealed to theatre groups to register with BAOTA, which is an advocacy group for the trade. He also called on groups to register with the registrar of societies. He decried the fact that some groups have shown little or no growth after years of formation due to poor coordination.
“Some of these groups are very good, but because members are not that informed of their rights and the opportunities available they end up nowhere. They are also prone to exploitation for financial gain by people who do not even like theatre,” he said.
One of their major challenges, he said, was to teach actors about the copyright act. Most groups, especially from rural areas, were still lagging behind in understanding the copyright act. They were vulnerable to breaking the law or letting their jobs be exploited by others who take advantage of their ignorance.
“Someone could be a judge in one area after which he could go and use one of the groups he judged as his own. It is thus very important to register with us and the registrar of societies because if a group comes to us and claim they have been robbed or that so and so used their work without their approval then it becomes difficult to represent them,” he said. He also noted that some groups missed opportunities because of their poor skills in preparing proposals for projects and sponsorship and that BAOTA was aiming to impart such knowledge to groups.
Moshabi said one of their major challenges is to also ensure that theatre is more appreciated in Botswana saying public education would be key in achieving that goal.