6 December 2012

Tanzania: UDSM to Host Finns for Joint Theatre Arts Programme

STAFFS at the University of Dar es Salaam's (UDSM), Fine and Performing Arts (FPA) Department, are busy preparing to receive visitors from two Finish universities next February.

Their intended visit is part of a project that has been established, as a link programme between these institutions and three African universities, of which the UDSM is one. It is in line with preparations for this visit that Prof Mitchel Strumpf had recently gone to the European country, as representative of the FPA Department.

He returned to Tanzania last week and told the 'Daily News' this network will provide a platform for these five universities to share ideas, students and teaching staff in the area of the using theatre arts for Community Development.

"There was an opportunity for someone to go from here to represent the Department, to see two universities: Kokkola and Seinajoki in Finland, so as to become familiar with their programmes. It's a wonderful project that has been established, as a link programme," he added.

Prof Strumpf also said that Tanzania had been chosen to be the first of the African campuses to invite people from Finland here. The visiting party will be in Dar es Salaam for three days and on the Zanzibar Isles for another three.

Eight visitors are coming from Finland for this purpose together with others from the University of Zambia in Lusaka and Maseno University in Kisumu, Kenya. With this group coming from Finland there will be five students, who will be staying here for three months, to work with theatre for development programmes, after their countrymen have returned home.

During this time they will also be taking courses at the FPA Department and also working in projects of this nature. The visitors will be visiting a number of "theatre for development-type projects" while here. This will lead to other projects in Finland, where Tanzanian students will go for the next session, which is scheduled to begin this coming March and for Finish students to come here.

Prof Strumpf expressed his optimism that the Department will be able to continue after this two-year programme, which is funded by Finland, has finished. He also said that later this week two Tanzanian students will be retuning to the country, from a two month theatre for development course in Kokkola City.

He found it commendable that while he was there last month, he witnessed these two students participating in the staging of a historical play outside in the freezing November cold for an audience of 500 people.

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