Posted March 27, 2009
President of Zambian Arts Association Visits New York; Meets Equity Leaders
L-R: Karen Master, Sankwe Michael Kambole, Flora Stamatiades, David Lotz
Sankwe Michael Kambole, President of the National Theatre Arts Association of Zambia (NATAAZ), was a guest of Actors' Equity in New York from February 20 to March 5, 2009 as part of a "Twinning Project" through FIA, the International Federation of Actors. Equity sponsored the trip as the first step in a partnership with NATAAZ to further the development of performers' rights in Zambia, and will be exploring future work with Mr. Kambole and NATAAZ.
During the trip, Mr. Kambole spent time with Equity staff and leadership, and also met with executives from organizations including the AFL-CIO, the Broadway League, The Shubert Organization, Disney Theatricals, Actors' Federal Credit Union, and Theatre Communications Group (TCG). He had the opportunity to see numerous shows including MAMMA MIA!, IN THE HEIGHTS, GUYS AND DOLLS, PAL JOEY, A WINTER'S TALE, RUINED and YOU'RE WELCOME, AMERICA, as well as an invited dress rehearsal of WEST SIDE STORY. He visited the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, DC, and observed LORT negotiations, SAG/AFTRA commercial negotiations, and a meeting of the Equity Council.
The twinning with NATAAZ is a project of Equity's Strategic Alliance/Mergers Committee, and the committee chair, Clarinda Ross, also traveled to New York to meet with Mr. Kambole. The details of the trip were arranged by Equity staff members Flora Stamatiades, National Director, Organizing & Special Projects, and Karen Master, Organizing & Immigration Assistant, and personally overseen by Executive Director John P. Connolly.
Following is a Q&A with Mr. Kambole.
Q: What is the purpose of the trip to Actors' Equity?
Q: What is the twinning program?
Q: You are President of NATAAZ…Describe this organization Is this like a union?
WIT is of main interest in NATAAZ since these is always a drop in membership of female members once they graduate from colleges, technical institutions, universities, etc. Therefore, this annual event brings together female performers and they, among others, discuss the challenges and also learn management and artistic skills.
NATAAZ is not like a union and a lot of challenges are therefore faced in terms of protecting the performers since NATAAZ has no powers to bargain for its members' work rights, negotiate contracts and manage these contracts, as well as offer the many benefits that arise through unionism.
Q: What is NATAAZ's relationship to the National Arts Council?
The uniqueness of this NAC is that it was agitated for by the artists and by NATAAZ then the only representative of the performing artists. Therefore, it can be seen that NATAAZ played a historical role in the formation of the NAC.
Q: Does the government support the arts ? How are theatre productions funded?
Q: How many professional performers are in NATAAZ?
Q: What opportunties are there for performers in Zambia?