The process of Zimbabwe’s long transition in a short 34 years has culminated in what many believe to be a new age that requires players across all sectors to re-examine their existence and operations. Paradigm shifts in technology and significant movement in the way nations now engage each other have underscored the necessity for organizational re-engineering.
For Rooftop, this has meant that the company’s way of doing things must also change and that it must respond to the changing environment accordingly. It has also meant a more sustainable model must be adapted that takes account of these paradigm shifts. In the past in Zimbabwe, art was considered more of an infotainment venture, but the new dispensation calls for a more strategic entrepreneurial mindset.
Rooftop Promotions has been a major player in the arts and entertainment industry in Zimbabwe since 1986. At the time that Rooftop was set up, Zimbabwe was in its early years of independence, and the arts were a vibrant sector, responding to the excitement and euphoria of newly found freedom.
Over the years, as Zimbabwe went through several diﬀerent cycles of changes – political, social and economic – artists were compelled by the prevailing circumstances to respond accordingly. It is, perhaps, fortuitous that Rooftop Promotions experienced the various stages of Zimbabwe’s politically driven dynamic landscape. This has put the organization in good stead to see the Zimbabwe story from all possible angles.
Rooftop and the Rooftop brand were able to weather the storm especially through the hard times. From an organization concentrating mainly on theatrical productions as its main area of focus, Rooftop developed into a more diverse arts entity by venturing into film and video production and distribution, as well as entertainment promotions.
Rooftop’s Theatre in the Park, where short plays were oﬀered to small audiences over short runs, was and is still the only one of its kind in the country. Its Creative Native arm took film productions beyond capital city environs and, along with tours of the company’s plays around the country and outside borders, gained for Rooftop widespread acclaim at even international level.
The emphasis now is how best to commercialize the project in response to current market and socio-economic dynamics. This shift in strategic directional focus is considered critical in the formulation of a sustainable and competitive entity that would also provide opportunities for the growth and development of new talent, and a skills base for the arts and entertainment industry, still in its nascent stages in the country.
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