Bintu: The Musical… Northeast crisis loud on stage
With Bintu – The Musical, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on Thursday, December 19 brought to the stage the crisis in the Northeastern part of the country at the MUSON Centre, Lagos.
The theatre production is a bold and thoughtful dramatization of the humanitarian impact of the decade-long crisis that has plagued the three north-eastern states — Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. It is based on the real-life experiences of people caught in the conflict, which has driven an estimated two million people from their homes.
Nearly three million people struggle to meet their food needs in the three crisis-affected states – almost double the number at the same time last year.
The play follows a young girl called Bintu, whose dream of going to the university was dramatically cut short when the insurgents strike. Bintu and her friends find refuge in a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), where they receive humanitarian assistance. While in the camp, Bintu slowly begins to rebuild her life.
Understanding the power and strength of arts, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) used the stage play to tap into Nigeria’s vibrant performing arts and entertainment industry to tell a story of conflict-driven hunger, resilience and humanity.
Speaking to journalists after the stage performance, WFP Representative and Country Director in Nigeria, Paul Howe said, “We hope the play will spark conversations around the crisis in the North East and lead to greater engagement of all parts of society – the private sector, government agencies and individuals – boosting efforts to achieve zero hunger in Nigeria.”
Howe stated that WFP is committed to saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. He added that UN agency works in more than 80 countries across the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.
Written and directed by Agozie Ugwu, a Nigerian playwright who teaches performing arts at the Nile University of Nigeria, Abuja, the play used powerful song, dance and poetic performances to depict people’s struggles, their will to survive and the vital humanitarian assistance they receive.
“This work goes beyond a theatre piece; it is a call to action from humanity to help humanity,” said Ugwu, whose Mosaic Theatre Production developed the play with WFP.
Since 2016, WFP has been providing a lifeline for vulnerable families affected by conflict in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, supporting internally displaced people, returnees, young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women with life-saving food and nutrition support. In 2019, the UN agency and partners served an average of 800,000 people with food and cash every month.
A showing in Abuja in the first quarter of 2020 will follow the Lagos premiere.
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