Chilonga Community Centre workshop/ theatre final stage

Published on September 11th, 2019 | by Kambisa!


The workshop space/theatre is up! What’s next?

We managed! With the finances of a lot of Dutch well-wishers and the immense strengths of a lot of Zambian brick-layers, roofing guys, plumbers, electricians, painters and gardeners, this summer, Desh managed to put up the entire workshop building. During the day it can serve to facilitate activities like carpentry, upcycling projects and media production, at night or during performances it can also be used to host danse or theatre performances, music, poetry slams or film screenings.


initial design sketch workshop/theatre

design sketch of the workshop/theatre (in reality, the side rooms became a bit bigger, and the roof was extended in the direction of the audience. the sides of the building will be useful too, as we can easily add some shelter there in times to come)

To realise that, we adapted the original (larger) design, creating a cheaper, multifunctional space. We now have two small rooms we can lock, each provided with a small window and a metal door, so they can function as storage, office or dressing room. In between, there is a semi-open space with slanted walls and a slanted roof, which will help reflect the sound to the audience. To prevent the rain from entering our construction, we extended the roof above the open side.


What’s next?

The water  is flowing, the beamer is in place, the cables and fitting are in, we just need electricity. And, for some extra comfort, a few pieces of furniture. The application for a connection the the national electricity grid (Zesco) was filed last year, but turns out to take very, very long (not just for us, unfortunately). In order to reduce our dependency on the grid, and to prevent our activities being stuck in (frequent) power cuts, we have asked wind energy company Meerwind to come and help us next year, with the installation of a set of solar panels and batteries. We hope to train people at the same time, as the installation of the solar pump and solar boiler proved that it is very hard to find people with solar skills in the region.

To be able to sit comfortably as well too, AND to give local wood-users an opportunity to earn more from local wood than when they burn it for charcoal, we have also asked the Flying Furniture Makers, ‘De Vliegende Meubelmakers‘, to join us next year. They exchange their skills with local carpenters and train aspiring furniture makers at the same time. Such aspiring carpenters are not hard to find: when we disclosed this plan in Chilonga, we got more applications then the group of Flying Furniture Makers can handle. Experiences tells us we will not be able to trace all applicants when time is there, so for now we treasure this waiting list. Half September we hope to hear if Kambisa! has been selected, and we will be able to welcome them next year. Fingers crossed, we are looking forward!


beginning the workshop/theatreWhat's next?inside of workshop/theatre

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