The original press release from the University of Bedfordshire 2014

Dr Agnieszka Piotrowska, a leading academic at the University of Bedfordshire and an award winning film and theatre practitioner, is currently in Harare preparing the world premiere of a play which she developed with an acclaimed Zimbabwean playwright.
Lovers in Time, by Blessing Hungwe, will be premiered at the Harare International Festival of the Arts on 29 April. Through comedy, the play examines traumatic events around legendary local female tribal leader and spirit medium, Mbuya Nehanda, who was executed by colonial rulers in 1896. In the play she returns to life in the present day, but as a male.
Manuel Bagorro, creative director of the festival said:
“I can’t wait to see it all come together. The themes are very powerful and no doubt controversial. We are delighted to have Agnieszka and Blessing collaborate on this.”
The production is supported by the University of Bedfordshire, the Nimberi Trust (with the participation of the European Union) and the Zimbabwe Theatre Association – and this is the first time the Association has directly supported a production directed and initiated by a British practitioner.
Leading African theatre and music talent will take part in the production, including the band Mafrique with Pauline Gundidza and Lovedale Makalanga. Pauline Gundidza said:
“I am very excited to be a part of this production. It is an astonishing and bold move to take on such a sensitive story and somehow make it into a tale about reconciliation – race issues are still taboo in Zimbabwe. I worked with Agnieszka in 2011 and that was an amazing adventure too. Oral tradition is very important here and theatre in a way is part of that tradition”.
Dr Piotrowska, an award winning filmmaker and the leader of innovative courses at the University of Bedfordshire (MA of Creative Digital Production and MSc of Digital Production and Technology), will also be making an experimental drama documentary connected to the play.
In 2012 she was the recipient of a British Council arts research grant, which she used to make a documentary, The Engagement Party in Harare, nominated as best documentary at the 2012 International Images Film Festival in Harare. Piotrowska, who is working on a new book about the arts in Zimbabwe, added:
“It is a great privilege to be given a chance to explore history through theatre and film, but I am also writing an academic book at the same time. The play is not political, but on the other hand anything to do with race relations in Zimbabwe is deeply political.”
Piotrowska is the author of Psychoanalysis and Ethics in Documentary Film (Routledge, 2014).


Press Releases

1 MAY 2014 | The Patriot | HIFA: The good and bad
Read more here

5 MAY 2014 | The Herald | When paymaster calls wrong tune
Read more here

29 APRIL 2014 | The Herald | Producer seeks ban on Hifa play
Read more here

14 APRIL 2014 | Harare News | Nehanda as a white man lovers in time historical comedy set for HIFA
Read more here

13 APRIL 2014 | The Standard | Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguvi at Hifa
Read more here

12 APRIL 2014 | The Herald | Nehanda assassination dramatised
Read more here

12 APRIL 2014 | allAfrica | Zimbabwe: Nehanda Assassination Dramatised
Read more here


Notes to Editors

  1. To request an interview with Dr Piotrowska please contact the University of Bedfordshire’s Press Office on 01582 489178 or email patrick.day@beds.ac.uk
  2. Dr Piotrowska is a specialist in film and psychoanalysis. She is a BBC trained, award winning documentary filmmaker with substantial experience in broadcast television in the UK and internationally. Since winning the Best First Film Prize at the BBC as a trainee, she has gone on to make a number of award winning films across the channels, including the flagship Channel 4’s strand Cutting Edge, Discovery and the National Geographic as well as the iconic Married to the Eiffel Tower. Dr Piotrowska’s monograph Psychoanalysis and Ethics in Documentary Film is published by Routledge.
  3. The University of Bedfordshire (www.beds.ac.uk) is the largest higher education institution in the county, providing excellent opportunities for more people to access top quality higher education. We aim to create a vibrant multi-cultural learning community enabling people to transform their lives by participating in excellent, innovative education, scholarship and research.
  4. The University of Bedfordshire has over 24,000 students, representing over 100 countries. Around 35% of students are aged over 25 and about three-quarters of students receive financial support from the university. Between 2006 and 2013 over £180 million has been invested in new facilities at the university, which contributes approximately £300 million annually to the local economy.
  5. For further information, or to receive University of Bedfordshire press releases on a regular basis, please contact: press.office@beds.ac.uk;01582 743046. Follow us on Twitter: @uobnews


For more info please contact Agnieszka.Piotrowska@beds.ac.uk