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 is spending at least half the year in Maputo working with the theatre and writing.
At present Henning Mankell’s function at the theatre is that of an artistic leader, while one of his dearest friends, Manuela Soeiro, who founded the small theatre company in 1984, is running it.
– 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 increasingly over the years they get more and more invitations from theater festivals all over the world. A couple of years ago they were in Norway and played their much acclaimed production of Henning Mankell’s play Nora’s Daughters. The play tells the story of what happened to the two daugthers of Nora from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.