A ‘necessity being the mother of invention’ type thing

My theatre life began pretty early on. I was born in the United States but raised in Zimbabwe. I actually spent a lot of time in theatre there as a child. I was part of a children’s performing arts workshop [Chipawo], which really introduced me to the dramatic arts.

The head of the workshop, one of the founders, [Robert McLaren] is a professor of English and dramatic arts. He taught at the University of Zimbabwe for several years, but originally he’s a white South African/Brit. He indoctrinated me into theatre back then and got me very interested in the craft. And then it just kind of snowballed, throughout high school and into college, though I wasn’t a theatre major. I was a psychology major.

In terms of writing, I just wasn’t finding enough stories about contemporary African people — or historical, just anything, the whole gamut. I was raised in Southern Africa and I came back to the West for college. I was starting to look for what I would like to perform, what I would like to see put to life onstage, and I was finding many stories about everybody else, but none about my own people. My playwriting became a “necessity being the mother of invention” type thing. I wasn’t finding what I wanted to perform, so I started to create it myself.

Danai Gurira
Danai Jekesai Gurira is an American actress and playwright.
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