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Lagos Theatre Festival returns after 2 years

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By Mercy Kelani

This event will strengthen the bonds between Nigerian and international artists.

In just a few weeks, the long-awaited Lagos Theatre Festival will be making its return after a two-year break. This event in March will shine a spotlight on the rich cultural traditions and heritage of Nigeria, leaving many Nigerians eagerly anticipating the festival. 2025 will mark the return of performing arts to the forefront of people’s consciousness. The upcoming show is anticipated to be an enthralling celebration of artistic diversity, emphasizing the festival’s dedication to cultural exploration and collaboration. This event will not only strengthen the bonds between Nigerian and international artists but also reinvigorate enthusiasm for the arts among audiences.

Lydia Idakula, the artistic director and a member of the management team, expressed that the Theatre Festival has faced challenges in recent years. However, she emphasized that these difficulties have been valuable learning experiences that have contributed to the growth and development of the organizers’ expertise in the theatre industry. Their drive to empower artists, both new and experienced, in creating impactful work that can be shared globally remains unwavering. They are also dedicated to fostering cultural exchange and forming international partnerships with a renewed enthusiasm.

There will be a total of four productions showcased.

Their focus is on developing platforms that allow their producers to actively engage in these initiatives. Idakula expressed optimism for the future as they embark on new adventures and extended an invitation for others to join them on the exciting journey. The event organizer announced that the festival will take place on March 2nd at Freedom Park in Lagos, with a special press night on February 29th. It was noted that there will be a total of four productions showcased, with three originating from Nigeria and one from Ireland.

Bukky Sanu, the festival coordinator, expressed enthusiasm for the upcoming Lagos Theatre Festival edition, promising a curated experience that will provide participants and audience members with lasting memories. The showcase is designed to be wholesome and enjoyable for everyone involved, marking a return to in-person events after the virtual edition in 2021. The Lagos Theatre Festival Foundation, a non-profit organization, is in charge of overseeing the festival. The foundation is governed by a Board of Directors which includes Olasupo Shasore as the chair, David Evans, Tosin Oshinowo, and Bikiya Graham-Douglas who serves as the executive director.

Its main goal is to showcase theatre in unique settings.

Several productions from different countries have been featured, such as ‘Before I Let You Go’ by B/Rated Productions from Nigeria, ‘Tuti’ by Kininso Koncepts Productions from the same country, ‘Anatomy of a Woman’ by Nevan Productions also from Nigeria, and ‘Storyteller’ by Niall de Burca originating from Ireland. Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF) stands as the premier performing arts event in Nigeria and the wider West African region. Its main goal is to showcase theatre in unique and non-traditional settings. The festival offers a platform for theatre creators and organizers to step outside their comfort zones and produce innovative performances that are tailored to fit any environment.

Established in 2013 by the British Council, the Festival was created with the goal of promoting interaction, partnership, and enhancing ties between Nigerian and British artists by showcasing top-notch Nigerian and British theatre productions. In 2013, LTF took place at Eko Hotel with 4 shows spread out across a weekend. The next year, in 2014, LTF moved to Freedom Park for 4 shows running over four days. After a one-year hiatus in 2015, LTF returned in 2016 with a fringe component added to the festival. This edition showcased 109 shows across 19 different venues, collaborating with 35 theatre groups throughout the 6-day event.

British Council transferred oversight of LTF to an independent Board.

The festival has grown significantly over the years. In 2017, there were 70 shows across 16 venues. By 2018, the number had increased to 120 shows across 22 venues. The 6th edition in 2019, held from April 8th to 14th, showcased 26 productions with a total of 103 events. In 2019, the British Council transferred control and oversight of the Lagos Theatre Festival to an autonomous Board. Lagos Theatre Festival, established in 2013, has successfully organized 6 festivals featuring 260 productions and 50 workshops, totalling over 420 shows. The audience numbers have reached 42,800 in person and over 770 million online.

Related Link

Lagos Theatre Festival: Website

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