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Fela’s Queens break the bank, producers mull extension


Jazz musician, ‘Laitan Adeniji Heavywind as Fela with Bunmi Olunloyo as Queen Naa Lamile (first left) and other ladies in Fela and the Kalakuta Queens

Fela and his Kalakuta Queens, the new stage production on the Fela Years, had sold out even the one weekend extension as of Friday, January 12, 2018.

The musical drama ran through the holiday season at the Terra Kulture Arena on Victoria Island, and was expected to have closed on January 7.

But the sold out tickets compelled the Bolanle Austen Peters Productions (BAP), to extend the outing by two more weekend dates, January 13 and 14.


Now the company is mulling the extension of the production till the last weekend of January. “We had a production meeting on Friday”, an insider told Artsville, “and this evening (Saturday January 13, 2018) we plan to ask the cast to take things till the end of January”.
Requests for tickets reached a frenetic pace on January 7, with the 20,000Naira per head VVIP tickets unavailable for the 7pm show on that date.

The country’s top 1% economic bracket jostled for space with the hoi polloi. “Every time I travel out, I see a play”, said Austin Avuru, chief executive of Seplat Petroleum, the London listed Exploration and Production firm, which is clearly the largest production company set up by Nigerians. “I am told that this play is up to the standard I see elsewhere”.

Avuru missed getting a ticket for the 7pm January 7 production, and personally drove to Terra Kulture himself to purchase the 3pm tickets for himself and his wife. BAP’s massive publicity machinery is a lesson for Theatre producers in Nigeria. Fund raising has its own tick off boxes even if the fund raiser is coming from a privileged background.

Producers of plays like Kakadu and Heartbeat have the material that Fela and The Kalakuta Queens have, with more critical plot structure along with the mesmerizing quality that Kalakuta Queens is selling. Let the Business of the Arts begin.

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Fela’s Queens
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