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Eager Artists turn 10

Published Aug 21, 2003

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Jerry Pooe, one of Durban's most talented director/playwrights, is celebrating 10 years of the existence of his Eager Artists Theatre Company. The occasion will be marked tonight by a gala fundraising evening in the Playhouse Grand Foyer.

Funds raised will go towards the company's community projects. Formed in 1993 by Pooe and Ben Zungu, Pooe took over the company on his own after Zungu left the arts industry in 1995.

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Pooe's vision is always to address various issues while educating audiences at the same time. Hence, most of Eager Artists's productions are concerned with bringing history to life.

Work such as Peace in the Valley addressed the issue of violence between the ANC and IFP in the 1980s.

Ekhaya Poppie focused on the involvement of Africans in the Anglo Boer war, while Marabi Dance is about life in the 1930s in Doornfontein - to name a few of Pooe's productions.

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Says Pooe: "We are celebrating our achievements as a community group which is now an internationally respected theatre company."

So far this year, the company has had a very hectic theatre season, having staged Free Birds in February, Mine Ghosts in March, Animal Farm and The Island in April, and My Voice My Life in May.

Overseas, the company also presented Not So Distanced Voices in Buffalo, New York, and Free Birds in Holland, during June and July.

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Eager Artists is currently rehearsing an operatic "epic", Dinizulu, on the life of King Dini Zulu. It is also working on a grade 12 poetry set work - Poetry our Lives - which will be touring schools.

Madela Kunene and Brian Thusi head up the bill for tonight's programme, which will also include various Eager Artists performers, such as jazz singer Gcina Vilakazi.

The company will also showcase inserts from various productions staged over the past decade. Tickets are R100, which includes a three-course meal. For bookings, call 031 305 1624. - Tonight Correspondent

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