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Lagos theatrical feast ends in style

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
01 March 2020   |   4:20 am
The seventh edition of the Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF) will end today. With the theme, Going out of Bounds, the festival started on February 27.

• Osinbajo Commissions British Council Office In Abuja Thursday

The seventh edition of the Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF) will end today. With the theme, Going out of Bounds, the festival started on February 27. The festival, which is the largest performing arts festival in Nigeria, and West Africa, was founded by British Council in 2013 as part of its ambitions of fostering exchange, collaboration and strengthen relationships between Nigerian and British artists through the presentation of high quality Nigerian and British theatre.

It was created to promote theatre in unconventional spaces. Through the festival, theatre makers and producers are supported to expand their practice beyond traditional theatre spaces by creating work that responds to any given space.

Since its inception in 2013, the festival has had over 260 productions, 50 workshops and over 420 shows and has reached 42,800 physically and over 770 million online.

LTF 2013 was held at Eko Hotel, and featured four shows over one weekend; LTF 2014 held at Freedom Park also featuring four shows over four days; following a break in 2015, LTF was re-launched in 2016 with the introduction of a fringe strand and it featured 109 shows in 19 venues working with 35 theatre companies during the six days of the festival. In 2017, the festival presented over 70 shows in 16 venues. The 2018 edition of the festival featured over 120 shows in 22 venues. In 2019, the sixth edition was held from April 8 to 14, 2019, and featured 26 productions, with 103 events. The council handed over the running and management of the Lagos Theatre Festival to an independent Board in 2019.

Meanwhile, the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Oluyemi Osinbajo, will commission British Council Nigeria’s new office complex in Abuja, on Thursday, March 5, 2020.This event is a testament to the council’s commitment to expanding its presence in Nigeria and establishing a landmark building in the nation’s capital.

The council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. Through its work in promoting English language and the arts, supporting education, administering examinations, it has helped to build stronger societies. Every year, it creates international opportunities for hundreds of millions of people around the world .

According to Country Director, Lucy Pearson, “the new office complex is equipped with state-of-the art equipment that will enable us continue to build on our innovative work in arts, education, English, examinations, society and particularly in peace building and gender to integrate it more with our work with young people. We will also continue to concentrate our engagement with senior policy makers in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.”Established in Nigeria, opening its first office in 1943, the council has been working and building relationships between the two countries for 75 years.

Today, the council works with more than 10 million people every year out of offices in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt reaching audiences of more than 52 million.

The commissioning is part of the council’s celebration of 75 years in Nigeria. The council launched its “Thanks to You” campaign on June 9, 2019 with a 12-month programme of events to celebrate participants of its many programmes over the years, showcasing how their experience with the council have triggered improvement in their communities, businesses and job prospects.

In terms of the scale of the council’s activities in Nigeria, between 2018/2019, over 117,352 internationally recognised exams were taken by Nigerians connecting them to worldwide learning opportunities; over 2,935 teachers have been trained through schools and English language programmes since 2018. An excess of 4,832 artists have obtained empowerment opportunities through training and networking platforms..

More than 3,900 students across 26 schools have gained access to an international dimension in their education through the International School’s Award.

The Abuja event falls in the week of International Women’s Day. Therefore, it will highlight all of the work that the council has been doing in the area of promoting Girl Child education, as well as it’s many programmes aimed at strengthening women entrepreneurs across the country such as the Girls Education Advocacy Research Network (GEARn).

Anniversary events have already been held in Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt. The event in Abuja will follow a similar format with a stage dedicated to its many participants in the city, who discuss the difference that the council has made, not just to their lives, but to the communities in which they live.

The aim of the session is to encourage other young Nigerians to aspire to become participants as well as drive a passion to make a difference and contribute to helping to build a safer and prosperous future for Nigeria.

The council has a long and profound history in the North of Nigeria, working behind the scenes, to bring about social justice, reconciliation and peace especially in the North East. For example, its Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP) has worked with state and non-state institutions to prevent conflicts from becoming violent, promoting appropriate responses to violence and supporting the reconciliation process. NSRP has also supported critical research to understand the drivers of conflict and has published works on the impact of youth unemployment and the effect of de-radicalisation programmes in Northern Nigeria. 

Not to mention its EUTF funded Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN) programme; The Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) programme which aims at enhancing good governance as well as its Deepening Democracy in Nigeria (DDiN2) Programme aimed at strengthening democratic governance in Nigeria by supporting the development of more efficient, effective and responsive political, electoral and democratic institutions.