Panali Panali

A Fusion of Storytelling & Theatre.

Photo Credit: Tsungai Garise

Panali Panali, presented by Zambia-based Dinaledi Expressions, combines both storytelling and theatre.

“Panali panali” is a Nyanja phrase, roughly equivalent in English to “once upon a time” or “do I have your attention?” Indeed, the performers called out, “Panali panali” several times throughout the Performance. To this, the audience replied, “Tili tonse!”, meaning “we are together” – a dramatic device that worked expertly to keep the young audience members engaged.

The Director, Tsungai Garise, set a relaxed tone in the performance space when he told us, the audience, that the only rules were to have fun, laugh and clap. The Performers entered the space singing and wished everyone, “Welcome to our storytelling time.” Two Storytellers acted to guide the audience through the narrative, in English, Nyanja and Bemba, while the other cast dramatised the animals from the moral stories. The Children from the audience played the other parts, being asked to join the company on stage to become dogs, sheep and even bees – playing a significant role in the development of the narrative.

You can hear an interview (17 minutes) with the director and cast of Panali Panali here:

All Photos Credit: Tsungai Garise

“the idea is to get so much interest that you transport people from this normal world and you enter into their imagination” – Tsungai Garise (DIRECTOR)

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An Applied Theatre Practitioner with experience in international Drama Education, Community Theatre and Theatre for Development, Chris’ ongoing research interests centre around the documentation of Community Performance practice for the purposes of monitoring & evaluation, advocacy and training. Recent projects include facilitating participatory documentation of Community Circus, Dance, Theatre and Storytelling practice in Ethiopia, South Africa and Zambia, documenting large conferences around the world, as well as conducting Impact Assessment studies for organisations in the UK and USA. His other work includes Arts-based Curriculum Development consultancy, as well as authoring other Evaluative Research projects.