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Lagos, Abuja hot up as Fringe Festivals 2020 beckons

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[FILES] Nigeria will present this year’s edition of the Lagos and Abuja Fringe Festivals. Photo: ISSUU

Leading drama and live show company, Performing Arts Workshop and Studios (PAWS) Nigeria will present this year’s edition of the Lagos and Abuja Fringe Festivals at various venues across the nation’s commercial capital city, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The Festival Director, Kenneth Uphopho, who disclosed this in a statement, said the Lagos Fringe Festival is scheduled to hold from November 17-22, while the Abuja Fringe Festival will hold from December 3- 6. He added that the festivals would bring together participants and facilitators from Mexico, Uganda, Belgium, Senegal, USA, Kenya, UK, South Africa, Canada, Brazil, Ghana, Portugal and Nigeria.

“This initiative follows our objective to strengthen our creative communities, promote inclusive participation and development via entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, youth engagement, and cultural exchange. We will deliver on this initiative through showcasing and professional development,” he said.

According to the ISPA Fellow, who is also a founding member of the Guild of Theatre Directors Nigeria, Lagos Fringe Festival is in its third year now, developing and engaging artistes, just as the Abuja Fringe will also support artistes to present a creative mix of theatre, poetry, film, spoken word, magic, cabaret shows, exhibitions, literature, dance and music etc. in repurposed spaces and virtually.

“We also have some festival programs that will focus on learning through a series of conversations, workshops and networking events all related to the festival theme.

Invitations for applications to participate in both festival experiences have started going out and entries are currently being collated for scheduling,” Uphopho added.

In light of the recent pandemic, the organisers of the festival have reviewed the programming for the multidisciplinary open access arts festivals to 50 percent virtual engagements and 50 percent physical interactions with social distancing measures in place.

The programme which will be published on the website soon will include an official festival launch ceremony, live shows and plays, panel discussions, playwriting classes, screening of short films and documentary films that will be selected from local and international film makers.

According to Uphopho, the film screenings of all non-English films will have subtitles. He added that there would be performances in music, spoken word, games, talent shows, alternative music concert and comedy.

In her remarks, the Fringe Producer; Brenda Fashugba, an Obama leader, who also sits as the convener for the Women In The Arts said: “The 2020 edition of Lagos Fringe Festival, following up on last year’s commitment, will also be presenting awards to deserving members of the creative industry who have distinguished themselves as advocates in their respective fields. Past winners include Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Tunde Kelani and Bayo Oduneye.”

“The women in the arts initiative will run creative empowerment programmes for women during the festivals. We are also encouraging collaboration and co creation among artistes for shared resources due to the nature of the arts in the light of this pandemic. We are a strong community and we will rise above this I can assure you. The virtual engagements will also include an exciting array of seminars, conferences and workshops. The discussions will tackle emerging arts, the future of the arts post Covid as well as innovations to explore going forward,” she added.

Fasugba further explained that the Lagos Fringe festival celebrations would coincide with the 10th anniversary of Freedom Park, a longtime partner of the festival. Tickets for the shows range from N2000 to N5000.

“Some of the events will be free but the general idea is to be able to support and encourage artistes affected by COVID-19,” the organisers said.


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