The arts industry has unquestionably transformed from being a world where artists could perform in market places just for fun, into an industry that brings with it fame and fortune.
Days when artists could live miserable lives despite having numerous popular productions under their belts seem to have been gusted away by the winds of time.
Nowadays, a good number of artists are living comfortable lives; they rub shoulders with the who and who's of our society and drive poshy cars.
They are simply drama celebrities.
However, the transformation seems to have spared theatre in the country which has remained stagnant since the death of theatre darling and former National Theatre Association of Malawi president Gertrude Kamkwatira.
Save for Kwathu drama group and Thlupego Chisiza's Lions Theatre, a year can pass by without watching once active Mc Arthur Matukuta and his Solomonic Peacocks, Max DC and his Emancipation Ensemble Theatre, Khumbo Chisiza and his Wakhumbata, Baba Twaya Sanudi and his Alabama, Mwambo Arts Theatre, Wanna Do, and Upile, among other performing groups.
Nanzikambe Theatre Company has metamorphosised into a civil rights grouping.
Radio and TV drama, too, are no longer entertaining as they have somehow shifted their focus from entertainment to commercial.
But is the situation completely out of hand? can it be reversed, and how?
Artistic director for Solomonic Peacocks Mc Arthur Matukuta said it was "tough for drama to rise to greater heights in the country if it is not being run as a business".
"Theatre cannot improve in Malawi unless we run it as a business. I can challenge that no-one has ever run drama as a business in the country.
"The problem is that, we had a poor background on how to manage theatre. We were fond of running theatre as just a passing-out-time-venture, so unless we change that and start it as a business venture, things will be alright."
He said, for instance, in other countries theatre is run through limited companies. "Drama groups have offices and professionals in all departments. Artists are not involved in management but only in the artistic part. But here in Malawi, someone is an artistic director, the same person a sponsor and also administrator as well, which is total madness," he said.
Matukuta, who is also a former National Theatre Association of Malawi (Ntam) president, said his group had been inactive due to financial constraints.
"Since we have no financial backing, we are failing to maintain artists and organize shows. But we are currently working hard to find resources to continue our mission," he said.
Max DC's Emancipation Theatre
Max DC, whose real name is Maxwell Chiphinga, of Emancipation Theatre, said the fall of theatre in the country has also been fueled by patrons' behaviour of underrating up-and-coming artists and drama groups.
"The problem with our audiences is that they only support particular groups; they don't want to sample production of up-and-coming artists hence killing drama in the process. Artists need money to perform in other areas, book venues and help their families to survive," said Chiphinga, who promised to be back on stage soon.
Thlupego Chisiza, artistic director for Lions Theatre cited selfishness, greed and jealousy among artists as the major reasons why the industry was refusing to grow.
"The incurable disease is that most drama groups in the country do not work as a family. There is a big gap between the established and budding dramatists, which has hugely affected drama," he said.
Frank Mbewe of Bantu Arts group attributed the death of drama in the country to the closure of French Cultural Centre.
"We used to pay for a performance at FCC, but now who can afford to pay K250, 000 for a performance? It's high time government created a cheap venue for us," said Mbewe, who is also a member of Kwathu Drama group.
He said they embarked on an audience building exercise starting from secondary schools, so that pupils should appreciate theatre at an early stage.
Theatre Association of Malawi
The association's president, Ian Chisekula, admitted that all is not rosy with drama but was quick to point out that his association is doing all it could to revive the industry.
Chisekula, a member of the Rising Choreos Theatre Company, decried the decline of sponsorship and rising cost of advertising and venues as the main stumbling block to the revival of drama.
"Most companies and organisations are no longer supporting drama. Government, too, has no interest in drama, a development which has put drama at the death bed.
"We have been unable to access funding from both government and the corporate world due to, among others, absence of a National Arts Council," he said.
He boosted that since he was ushered in office he has managed to introduce theatre competitions which have "unearthed a lot of raw talent in the rural areas".
"Our next target is to have a national trophy in order to cement competitiveness in the industry. The district competitions have already proved to us that there is a lot of hidden potential in the rural areas which need promotion and exposure.
"We are very optimistic that the proposed national event will allow budding and established dramatists to network and share experiences apart from unearthing promising actors. We are also planning to introduce a national trophy this year for actors and actresses on top of mobilising resources for training our members," he said.