“One of the greatest adventures and challenges of my life has been my work with the Teatro Avenida. Working with people from different cultures make you realize that there are more things uniting us than separating us.”
Apart from his authorship, the theatre has always been highly present in Henning Mankell’s life. Even before he had written his first novel, Henning Mankell wrote his first play, Nöjesparken (The Amusement Park), while working as a stagehand in Stockholm in the beginning of the seventies. Today, Mankell is one of Sweden’s most frequently staged dramatists and many of his plays are also produced worldwide.
In 1986, Henning Mankell was offered the position as artistic director at Teatro Avenida in Maputo. He subsequently spent six months a year in Mozambique where he worked at the theatre together with one of his closest friends Manuela Soeiro.
After living in Zambia and other African countries, Henning Mankell was invited to run the Teatro Avenida in the capital of Mozambique, Maputo. Since his arrival in 1986 he spent at least half the year in Maputo working with the theatre and writing.
Henning Mankell’s function at the theatre was that of artistic leader, together with one of his dearest friends, Manuela Soeiro, who founded the small theatre company in 1984.
– One of the greatest adventures and challenges of my life has been my work with the Teatro Avenida. Working with people from different cultures make you realize that there are more things uniting us than separating us.
The Teatro Avenida has since the beginning been concerned with the political and social issues which are topical in Mozambique. Manuela Soiero states:
– We look at the issues which are affecting the people and then think about how we can tackle those issues. I write many of the plays myself, or co-write them with Henning.
Apart from staging plays focusing on socail issues Teatro Avenida also perform the work of internationally acclaimed play writers, among others Tennesse Williams’ A streetcar Named Desire and August Strindberg’s Miss Julie. A Mozambican version of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler premiered at Teatro Avenida in 2012.
As the reputation of Teatro Avenida has grown over the years they’ve received more and more invitations from theater festivals all over the world.
Since Henning Mankell wrote his first play Nöjesparken (The Amusement Park) in the beginning of the seventies he has written approximately 30 plays that have been produced in theatres in Sweden as well as abroad.
Mankell’s ambition to unmask the lack of equality in society has always been the same irrespective of artistic expression or context, and also repeats itself in his plays. During his professional life he has divided his time between writing novels and directing at various theatres.
In 1984, Henning Mankell became the director of the theatre Kronobergsteatern in Växjö, which lead to a pause in his pursuits as an author between the years 1984 and 1990.