By Allen Kisakye
Often, artistes – established and up and coming, have accused the National Theatre management of not understanding art.
For example, we have previously reported how comedian Philip Luswata blamed management led by Ojede of stagnating the growth of art in Uganda, destroying artiste’s dreams as well as ‘chasing’ artistes away from the theatre.
He is not alone. Hundreds of others feel Mr Francis Ojede is not capable of leading artistes in the country since he has never stepped on a stage. They say he has never even appeared in a primary school play so he fit to lead the centre meant to build the arts in the country.
But Uganda National Cultural Centre Public Relations officer, Robert Musiitwa believes otherwise, saying they gave up on ‘big headed artistes’ because most are just eager to tarnish the establishment’s name without any basis.
“They are many but I will not point them out,” Musiitwa said ahead of the first ever Art and Cultural Festival held at the weekend.
“We have done our part and given up on them. Some we invited for the Art and Cultural Festival. If they attend, its good, but if they don’t come, it is still fine because other people will came to showcase their talents and work. And that is the talent we are willing to work with,” said Musiitwa.
Sccording to the publicist, the National Theatre has a mandate of promoting art, and they have tried to fulfill their obligation. But just like in any place in society, there are always those people who will never be satisfied by the little provided.
“Some of these so big artistes have high expectations and high demands which the Theatre cannot afford for the moment. We always tried to reason with some but it was impossible and we had to give up on them, some of them are just defiant,” he said.
The rift between the theatre and some artistes, Musiitwa says is because some don’t want to follow procedure.
“We have a system that every artiste has to follow, big or upcoming, but some artistes don’t want to adhere with us.”
“Those artistes who always talk about our failures know that people use the facility at a very low price, and with that little money we earn, we can’t compete favorably with other theatres like Labonita or even Bat Valley.”