Lagos Theatre Festival 2018
From February 27 to March 4, 2018, the British Council, Nigeria will present the fifth edition of Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF) titled Theatre in Unconventional Spaces. The festival will feature 98 shows from 47 companies/producers across Lagos Island and Mainland. This year, there will be shows in Ikorodu and Epe with a focus on presenting innovative interpretations of new ideas that will inspire and challenge audiences, and new works that will spark conversations and debates.
According to the festival director, Mr Kenneth Uphopho, “We want to encourage more experimental works in unconventional spaces and foster more inclusion with this edition of the festival, which will feature performances, a carnival, workshops and a variety evening shows in six days. Our series of build-up activities to engage audiences and stakeholders towards the delivery of the festival have already commenced, so the festival has already started.”
The 2017 edition featured over 80 events at 16 venues across Lagos and was well attended by over 5,000 people, including Country Director of British Council Nigeria, Connie Price, Head Sponsorships and Events, First Bank Plc, Bridget Oyefeso Odusami, Lagos State Acting Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Adebimpe Akinsola, Obi Asika, Theo Lawson, Joke Silva, Olu Jacobs.
Following the 2017 outing, most of the works presented at the festival received commendable reviews and referrals to participate in other projects and festivals across the world. One of such is Strelitzia, an experiential poetry and art installation project which was produced by Poedio Productions and premiered at the last edition of the festival. Also, Joy Isi Bewaji’s Wedding Blues, produced by Beeta Universal Arts Foundation, was one of the most successful shows during the festival, as an extra show had to be included to accommodate audience surge.
According to Ojoma Ochai, British Council’s Head of Arts in West Africa, “From inception, one major vision of the Lagos Theatre Festival has been to enable an experimental platform of expression for theatre producers and performers, as well as companies and individuals, who participated in past editions of the festival… We hope to make more of such stories in 2018.”
Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF) was first held in 2013 at Eko Hotel and featured four shows over one weekend. LTF 2014, held at Freedom Park, also featured four shows over four days. Following a break in 2015, LTF 2016 featured 109 shows over six days in 19 venues working with 35 theatre companies and was supported by First Bank of Nigeria. The 2017 edition featured 86 events in six days at 16 venues with 40 production companies, including three from South Africa, one from the U.S. and one from the U.K and was also supported by First Bank and Etisalat.
The fringe strand of the festival was introduced into the festival in 2016. The fringe strand is an open access aspect of the festival designed to allow more performers/production companies the opportunity to present their work without restriction to style (such as small theatre, children’s theatre, dance, film, spoken word, comedy, puppetry, cabaret, music, interdisciplinary arts).