Arab Today, arab today nigerian theatre seeking revival in unlikely spaces
Last Updated : GMT 00:00:12
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Nollywood films increase in popularity

Nigerian theatre seeking revival in unlikely spaces

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Nigerian theatre seeking revival in unlikely spaces

Grip Am an experimental deconstruction has proved popular
Lagos - Arabstoday

Grip Am an experimental deconstruction has proved popular The future of Nigeria's rich theatre legacy, built over decades by artists including Africa's first Nobel literature laureate, Wole Soyinka, may be found off stage. Theatre has been central to some of the defining campaigns in Nigerian history, including the push for independence in 1960, but it is now a struggling art, with actors warning that their industry is in danger.
One factor in the decay is the proliferation of 'Nollywood' films, which are not just hugely popular due to their outrageous plotlines and scandalous characters; they're also cheaper and easier to watch than live plays.
But at the first ever Lagos theatre festival in February, performers spoke of another hurdle: finding a place to perform in Nigeria's economic capital, one of the world's largest cities with a population of some 15 million.
Ojoma Ochai, assistant director at the British Council in Lagos which organised the festival, said several of the city's performance spaces have been converted to churches, notably Pentecostal prayer halls as the Christian movement's membership has surged.
Some venues have been closed, while others now set astronomical rental fees that theatre companies cannot pay.
"What we discovered is that there is an incredible generation of entrepreneurial, exciting theatre makers...but they have huge infrastructural challenges, in particular over access to spaces," said Ben Evans, a London based theatre consultant who helped produce the festival.
"There just aren't the opportunities to make work on a regular basis and artists need that in terms of keeping their skills alive," he added.
The concept of the inaugural festival was to showcase theatre staged anywhere apart from an actual theatre in the hope of inspiring further productions in alternative spaces.
The shows were scattered throughout the grounds of the luxury Eko Hotel, which is favoured by the city's political and business elite.
In the dimly lit parking lot, the cast of the "The Waiting Room" plotted the murder of loved ones in pursuit of a hefty insurance payment.
In "Shattered," both the actors and audience moved through the hotel's presidential suite as the rape of a teenage girl by a powerful patriarch was revealed.
A revival of the pidgin English "Grip Am," written in 1973 by the celebrated dramatist Ola Rotimi, played out on a patch of unused land near the pool and the tennis court.
Deleke Gbolade, who directed "Grip Am" said he wants to make work that is seen by the middle and lower classes, but doing so is financially untenable.
"It's either that theatre companies are folding up or just struggling to make ends meet," he told AFP, citing unaffordable venue rental fees as a major issue.
At risk is the potential loss of an art form that has been more than "just entertainment" throughout Nigeria's history, said Duro Oni, the deputy vice chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and a theatre historian.
The birth of modern theatre in Nigeria came after World War II, when plays started shifting away from churches and village markets into permanent venues, he said.
The most prominent was Glover Hall on Lagos Island, one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods, where the flamboyant Herbert Ogunde founded Nigeria's first professional theatre company, drawing large audiences from both the elite and the working class.
"He saw theatre as a political weapon," and staged profit-making shows both in Lagos and around the country that overtly supported the nationalist independence cause, Oni said.
The political theatre trend continued with Soyinka's Dance of the Forests, first performed to coincide with independence in 1960, which prophetically hinted at early signs of trouble for the new nation, including the rampant corruption that has dogged Nigeria ever since.
"That apparently did not go down very well with the government," said Oni, noting the ensuing persecution of other artists by both military and civilian regimes.
Soyinka, who won the 1986 Nobel literature prize, was imprisoned during the 1967-1970 civil war for alleged spying after travelling to the breakaway republic of Biafra and seeking to negotiate peace.
Young, talented dramatists are still trying to tackle urgent national issues, but their impact is limited in a theatre industry that "is almost dying," said the playwright and UNILAG professor Bose Afolayan.
"Nollywood has really killed theatre," she said of the domestic film industry, accusing it of excessive reliance on "sex...glamour (and) exposing the supernatural in Africa."
There is, however, some hope.
Oni said provocative theatre is still being produced at several universities across the country, while the festival's producers noted that a wider revival is possible if companies rethink where and how to stage a play.
As Evans noted, Nigeria still has "a reputation for brilliant theatre makers" including Soyinka, "whose works are produced the world over."
And, he added, some successful companies, "started in people's bedrooms with no money."

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today nigerian theatre seeking revival in unlikely spaces Arab Today, arab today nigerian theatre seeking revival in unlikely spaces

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today nigerian theatre seeking revival in unlikely spaces Arab Today, arab today nigerian theatre seeking revival in unlikely spaces

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Youssra depended on colored foam

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today Lufthansa chief eyes up to 78

GMT 11:29 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Lufthansa chief eyes up to 78
Arab Today, arab today Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts
Arab Today, arab today Rouhani at UN defends Iran nuclear deal

GMT 09:41 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Rouhani at UN defends Iran nuclear deal
Arab Today, arab today Saudi Arabia to unblock internet calling apps

GMT 11:31 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Saudi Arabia to unblock internet calling apps
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Ministry seeks to improve education

GMT 14:49 2017 Sunday ,17 September

Ministry seeks to improve education
Arab Today, arab today China lifts 10-year travel ban

GMT 18:09 2017 Thursday ,21 September

China lifts 10-year travel ban
Arab Today, arab today Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands brace

GMT 12:01 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands brace
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Intel chips loaded in Waymo

GMT 14:43 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Intel chips loaded in Waymo
Arab Today, arab today Five trends at the Frankfurt auto show

GMT 12:04 2017 Monday ,18 September

Five trends at the Frankfurt auto show
Arab Today, arab today Actress Ream Hhagag prepares for a new film

GMT 09:40 2017 Tuesday ,19 September

Actress Ream Hhagag prepares for a new film
Arab Today, arab today France hopeful of persuading Trump

GMT 06:21 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

France hopeful of persuading Trump

GMT 12:14 2017 Monday ,18 September

Horia Farghaly happy for success of “Case G”

GMT 10:35 2017 Thursday ,14 September

New Zealand opposition looks

GMT 16:53 2017 Saturday ,02 September

Mai importance of gifts during Eid Al-Adha

GMT 19:18 2017 Monday ,18 September

5,000 'Dieselgate' deaths in Europe per year

GMT 10:46 2017 Saturday ,05 August

Nanis reveals simple ideas for home renovation

GMT 04:49 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

WHO urges Yemen to accept vaccines

GMT 16:04 2017 Tuesday ,19 September

Egypt tourism revival steady but slow

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 12:46 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Google likely to buy stake in Taiwan smartphone maker HTC

GMT 11:37 2017 Saturday ,12 August

Fashion designer reveals her new collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday