Chioniso Tsikisayi Selected Finalist For African Women Playwrights Network's 2022 Festival Of Plays

The African Women Playwrights Network is holding their first Festival of Plays in collaboration with the University of Ghana and after a call for submissions they've selected ten playwrights for the 2022 festival and amongst them is Chioniso Tsikisayi with her debut play "A woman has two mouths".

Chioniso Tsikisayi Selected As A Finalist For African Women Playwrights Network's 2022 Festival Of Plays

The Festival of Plays will be held in Ghana in September 2022 and this year's submission criteria required plays that are 10 minutes long which also had never been produced before. The theme for the event is ‘Tackling Taboo Topics In African female Writings.’ In the initial 20 play shortlist two other Zimbabweans had featured in Ndangana Charlene and Chiedza Rwodzi but it was only Chioniso who made the final cut. We caught up with her to talk about the achievement and how it feels.

So tell me how does it feel to be recognized among the ten?

I'm happy I get to share my work with a new audience. I hadn't written a play before this, so it actually blows my mind that mine was selected. I'm obviously looking to learn from my peers and draw a bit of wisdom from those with more experience than me.

When is the winner going to be selected?

The festival is from the 1st-4th of September. They didn't say anything about a winner as yet, just that each participant will be awarded a certificate for their  contribution to the festival

How did you find playwriting compared to your regular craft?

I think it's great for the dialogue, and the worlds you can create for a character or multiple characters at a time. That makes it a more collaborative process because there are a lot more moving parts involved. I don't think about stage directions when I'm writing poetry or short stories but for something like this, I actually found myself picturing how the spaces on stage would be filled by actors, and how to make it easier for them.

Will the festival see the plays being actually performed?

Yes, each play is roughly ten minutes and limited to three characters. I'm not sure if we will act out our own plays or have talent outsourced to do so

What inspires your writing in all these different forms?

The cliché answer is life, as a little girl I spent a lot of my quiet years just listening, it would be the ladies of my grandmother's burial society having a gossip session or conversations between two people at a bus stop, the usual humdrum in a kombi. Random things that you just pick up along the way and somehow those daily, mundane behaviors that humans possess find a way into stories and poems and my thoughts, creating larger-than-life characters

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