ISPA names Ezenwa-Okoro board member
The International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) has named the founder of Street Project Foundation, Rita Ezenwa-Okoro, as the first-ever Nigerian board member.
ISPA strengthens the performing arts globally by advancing leadership, exchanging ideas, and fostering a diverse and engaged membership.
Ezenwa-Okoro’s appointment was announced at the organisation’s yearly general meeting on Monday, February 6, 2023, making her the first Nigerian and fourth African to sit on the board of ISPA in its almost 75 years of existence.
She is the Founder and Lead Visionary of Street Project Foundation, a non governmental organisation focused on facilitating opportunities for youth employment, social mobilisation and cross-cultural dialogue using creative arts as a tool.
She is also the Executive Director of the Global Play Brigade (GPB), an international movement of performance activists, improvisers, clowns, musicians, dancers, educators, and therapists who use ‘play’ to unleash the human power of social transformation.
Rita is also an Author of the book titled Doing. Being. Becoming. For the love of the creative arts.
She is a three-time Global Fellow of the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA) from 2019-2021 following her unorthodox use of the creative arts in the economic, social and mental development of youths in Nigeria.
Ezenwa-Okoro used projects including the Creative Youth Boot Camp and ARTvocacy, a four to six weeks non-residential boot camp designed for at-risk youth in Nigeria, to expose young people to every genre of art and culminate in showcases of stage plays and short films, among other things.
The Foundation also deploys its United Nations and BMW award-winning tool, ‘Reflection Sessions,’ which uses play and performance to get young people across ethnic lines to share their stories of trauma, pain, healing, and purpose in a safe space called the circle of trust.
Ezenwa-Okoro, who was unanimously voted to join the ISPA board to influence policy, thought leadership, and membership, said she would play her role in helping the board achieve its aims and objectives.
She said, “I am honored by the opportunity to serve on this distinguished board of leaders in the performing arts industry worldwide. Making history by being the first Nigerian to serve on the board of this renowned organisation is more than I could ever have planned for in my career.”
The performing artist said: “I look forward to working with board members of ISPA to increase the percentage of Africans in its membership. In addition, ensure that the voices of African performing arts leaders are heard on this global platform.”
Other newly appointed board members are three notable global business leaders. Mark Ball, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre, UK; Martin Inthamoussu, Creative Economy Consultant at Interamerican Development Bank USA; and Paul Tam, Executive Director, Performing Arts, West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, Hong Kong, China.