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April 23, 2024
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Joke Silva decries neglect of Lagos art theatres

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By Taiye Olayemi

Veteran Nollywood actress, Joke Silva, has called on the Lagos State Government to put the state’s theatres to use to impact the society and engage the youth meaningfully.

Silva made the call during a conference organised by the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) in commemoration of the World Theatre Day, on Wednesday, in Lagos.

The theme for the conference is: “Unbundling Nigeria’s Creative Economy for a Sustainable Future”.

The actress decried the neglect of the theaters located in the five divisions of the state, describing it as a sad development.

According to her, to fully unbundle the Nigerian creative economy for a sustainable future, formidable structures must be in place.

“The creative industry needs a lot of structures-intellectual and physical, for the industry to thrive better. We should have physical structures of theatres across each local government in the federation.

“I can remember Lagos state did well by building five theatres and all have not been put to use in recent times, this is a sad development. They did this because they said government is not making money from it.

“Structures like that and the Freedom Park are cultural places and assets government need to be funding, these structures are impacting on the society, bringing the young people off the streets.

“These theatres and some other cultural places need take-off grants for a long time from government because they impact the society so the Lagos state government need to make these theatres work again,” she said.

Silver noted that government did not need to create more cultural centres but rather revamp, renovate and refurbishe the existing ones across the nation.

“One of such cultural centres to be revamped is the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts and Culture in Abuja.

“Training is also another important thing needed, this relates with the intellectual structure needed in the creative space.

“I can observe series of microwave training the younger ones are engaged with, which makes our people sub-standard to the global standard. We need to get it right,” she said.

Speaking on the importance of data gathering to unbundling Nigeria’s creative economy for a sustainable future, renowned filmmaker, Femi Odugbemi, advised on engaging the right kind of technology for data gathering.

Odugbemi spoke extensively on reasons government at all levels must priotise data gathering and uphold accuracy.

“Every number I have heard is a guess and this is usually used to make ridiculous plans, there must be a shift to the normal,” he said.

Advising his colleagues, Odugbemi said, “To engage government we need to make a shift from individual talent to building institutions, like building art studios, look at providing work and not looking for work.”

Also, Dr Ikenna Nwosu, Vice President, Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, said that to get it right in the creative sector, addressing the absence of a national policy on the creative economy was quite germane.

“We must address the draft national policy on intellectual property in the sector, also, mitigating the risks associated with investing in the creatives sector would have to be examined.

“Government must also think of addressing the absence of a Nigerian creative economy bill that creates a creative economy.

Earlier, Mr Israel Eboh, NANTAP National President, noted that the theme of the conference was carefully picked to enlighten people on the broad nature of the creative industry.

Eboh urged theatre arts practitioners to take deliberate efforts in understanding the demands of playing actively in the creative space.

“The era of creative exhibitionism must end, we must step onto the field of creative business. As practitioners, we must reinvent ourselves; we must be willing to collaborate; we must understand the business of risk sharing and mitigation.

“Above all, we must be engaged in constant capacity building and understanding the workings of the many components that make the creative economy one of the largest growing economies.

Ngozi Obigwe-Kunuji, Head of Operations, Africa Philanthropy Forum, enlightened theatre practitioners on how they could seek for funds for filmmaking.

She listed the British Council, Fort Foundation, and Mastercard Foundation among many other organisations they can approach for funds. (NAN)
Edited by Folasade Adeniran

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