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Hands-on training for young creatives at Lagos Fringe Festival

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A scene from Esther’s Revenge

The Lagos International Fringe Festival, which had as theme ‘Creative Transitions’ kicked off its second edition on November 19, and featured a diverse range of artistic works from artists based in several countries within and outside Africa. This year’s edition was designed to enhance the abilities of prospective actors, producers, and scriptwriters by structuring workshops to tutor those keen on developing their careers. The festival is also intended to accommodate an abundance of cultural and artistic tastes.

The festival featured ‘Young Actors Workshop,’ organised by British-trained actress and producer and founder of Beeta Universal Arts Foundation (BUAF), Bikiya Graham-Douglas. She spoke on how to help young, aspiring actors amplify their craft in the profession. Those in attendance were taught how gymnastics aids performance, especially before going on set, which helps with relaxation and free body movement, importance of facial expressions and body movements, shared monologues. They also coached on areas, which they would need to make improvements.

Social Media Management Consultant, Tope Sanni-Olojede, led the workshop on ‘Making Social Media Work for the Arts,’ which stressed on how to harness social media pages in order to secure good connections or career promotions. She spoke on the importance of keeping social media handles simple and easy to find and identify, relevance of advertising careers on profile pages, the importance of how artists could use good and clear photos as samples of their works, and the advantages of using sponsored ads in promotion.

Scriptwriter, director and producer, Aderonke Adeola, an award-winning Nigerian filmmaker and a film director, Emamode Edosio, also shared experiences in filmmaking in the workshop themed ‘Before the Lens,’ in an interactive session with the audience. Edosio recalled her experience when directing the comic film Kasala and emboldened aspiring filmmakers to pursue their dreams and not permit discouragement or setbacks impel them into giving up on their goals.

There were also film screenings in the course of the festival. One of such films shown was Esther’s Revenge, a heuristic play inspired by true events set in the 1950s in Nigeria. It explores themes around prejudice, colonialism, abuse, political, and social injustice. It begins with just a few hours to the execution of Esther, played by Omobolanle Atitebi, who murders her white lover, Mark. Audience members have been summoned as jurors to hear her case one final time.

Another play Home is a coming of age story where Genoveva Umeh shares a funny and honest realization of the pressures of being a young Nigerian. She also shares her challenges, fears and mistakes while living in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

The third play, Bridezilla, is an emotional rollercoaster. Funke, the protagonist, navigates memories in the lead up to her wedding day and through her emotions, she shares the intricacies and expectations of African brides.

Some of the films which were screened included Arabida, Dark Trev, Tokunbo, The Encounter, Bridezilla, The Two Both Of Us, I Won’t Mind My Business, Avatars of Oodua, Rain, Chapters, Shadows, My Room, My Doom, Gbese, Cosi sis (AMEN), Blackout and many more.

Poetry and spoken word were part of performances during the festival. Some of the performances included Nwa Chukwu: A Journey To Self And Questions on Identity, which was performed by The Griot Company and featured Ndukwe Onuoha, Maka and Tony The Emperor, and Unapologetically I am… by Imagiphoria Studios.

There was a workshop on ‘Writing for the Beginners’ in film and theatre conducted by Jude Idada, a screen writer, actor, poet, playwright and producer best known for The Tenant. Also, a seminar was championed on Nigeria Economy and the female creative organised by Women in Arts (WIA), coordinated by Brenda Fasugba with Lagos Fringe to celebrate women doing amazing things in the art space. It also featured female empowerment in Nigeria and how to harness streams of knowledge flowing from female artists.

A film by Aderonke Adeola, art historian, writer, fashion entrepreneur, and filmmaker, Awani, which she said is a documentary that “serves as a timeline that examines the evolution of the role of Nigerian women, starting from pre-colonial Nigeria to the present day. The documentary uses a blend of archival footage and expert commentary to explore how colonialism has shaped political and social attitudes towards women, but to also celebrate women from the past. Awani is a thought-provoking documentary that aims to simply answer the question, how did we get here?”

Also, a workshop for filmmaking was coordinated by Udoka Onyeka who enlightened the audience on the need for filmmaking, stages of making a movie and how long it takes to make a short film.

He said, “You must know there are no formal requirements to become a filmmaker. A bachelor’s degree in film and television production is recommended as it will provide you with an opportunity to acquire many of the skills necessary to work in the field, as well as gain experience with projects and establish industry contacts.”

It is the goal of Lagos Fringe to raise awareness on inclusion and inspire standards for students and performing artists.


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