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Sisters Act to hit stage with Nigerian cast




The musical, Sister Act, would be staged in Nigeria in the last quarter of the year. And to make the offering different from anyone staged in Nigeria before now, promoters of the show is not just getting technical input from very resourceful team of the Waterfront Theatre School of South Africa, it is also ensuring that the cast is expected to be an all Nigerian team.

Speaking on the show, the Executive Producer, Dr. Soji Akinkungbe, stated that the whole project was based on bringing quality performance to the Nigerian audience. According to him, he had nursed for many years the opportunity to let the Nigerian audience see what they would see on broadways in America or anywhere in the western world.

“So partnering with the Waterfront Theatre School, whose primary focus is teaching theatrical skills was the right thing. For me, it was the right partnership because they are developmental. They are not transactional, not out to just make money. We are all beneficiaries of teachers. Sister Act just happened to be the first show of many shows, and it is not just bringing international shows; we are going to be looking at raising local performance into an internationally acceptable standard.”

Akinkungbe has got the right for the staging of Sister Act in Nigeria. He provided some insight. “Basically, people who write shows that become public, sell the right to the show, that means, they give you the whole script of how the show should be put up and you can own that right for a specific area.

“So, it could be Nigeria, Ghana, the idea is that by giving the right, it means people around the world can experience the same quality of show because they have given the manuscript for the show.”

He said hopefully the show would be coming up in November or December and Nigerians should be expecting two things; an exceptional show of which they already know the story because most Nigerians have heard about the story, then they are going to see an all-Nigerian cast, which means that they will have a direct ownership of the show.

“If this show was being watched and you brought the cast from outside, people will say yes, but when you are able to see some of your local celebrities taking active part in the show, it then gives you your taste, and there is more of an ownership of that show. Even though it is a global show, it is now a localized one with the Nigerian cast.”

Producer of the show is Elvina Ibru. Sharing her experience in being part of the project and producing it, she said the experience is almost like every other producing experience she has had.

“So, it is nothing extraordinary that I have not experienced before, but it is very exciting because we have a team of really brilliant teachers. And I emphasize that word, teachers, because we have a lot of brilliant directors in this country, but we do not really concentrate more on teaching and having the patience to teach.

“And from what I have seen in the past few days, the standard of patience and level of teaching expertise that these people have brought with them to produce something that will be completely outstanding to watch. What we do not lack in this country is talent; we are a very, very talented people.

“I am excited. This is the project, out of the many projects I have produced; that has brought me the most excitement.”

She further said that participating in the audition process to pick the cast for the show was a great learning process for her.

“I learn everyday. I was trained abroad, so I was one of the lucky one, but I have learnt in the last three days of the audition, so you can never stop learning.”

Co-coordinator of the Waterfront Theatre School, Delia Sainsbury, provided some narrative around the Sister Act, disclosing it was first produced as a movie and now on the stage as a musical. “It was first produced on broadway, then it went to London and now there are production rights for Sister Act all over the world.”

She said the story around Sister Act is about a lady who got an abusive boyfriend and she tried to run away from him, because he was in a gang of rogues, so was scared of him.  The lady ran away and took refuge in a convent and when she arrived the convent, she had to hide by being a nun.

And they did not know who she was, they believed she was nun but she smoke, drink, and sneaks out to bar, but she is basically a wonderful woman. While in the convent, hiding from the police and her boyfriend, she completely transformed the convent choir from a sort of downtrodden one to something really quite spectacular.

Sainsbury said anywhere the show goes to there are usually some adaptions because as an American musical, not all American humour travels. “So once we get into the hostel and start working with the Nigerian cast, we would see if there are certain things that needed to be adapted for the local audience.”

She said the audience should be expecting a lot of fun, when they come to watch the musical. “We want to take them out of themselves, including taking away anything they are feeling down or miserable about.

“Sisters Act is a huge blast, it is a party; so we want them to come have a really good time; laugh, experience good music and high-energy show. We want them to really go home feeling good.”

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