National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), in collaboration with National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Goethe Institut Nigeria, British Council Nigeria and National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), recently held a two-day zoom conference with a capacity building workshop with the theme “Artist to Administrators – Bridging the Transitional Gap”, moderated by Uju Ukwu of the NICO Training School and culture activist, Jahman Anikulapo.
In his address of welcome, President of NANTAP, Mr. Israel Eboh, hinted the workshop aimed at improving the business and management skills of practitioners. He said, “We want to further build the capacity of practitioners within the art and culture space, beyond the exhibition of talents, but have a better idea of how to successfully run their businesses, theatre companies and other art related agencies whenever they are called upon.”
Also, Mrs Bridget Yerima, who represented the Executive Secretary of NICO, Mallam Mohammed Yahuza, said the institute was committed to capacity building efforts considering the mandate of NICO. She said: “We are committed to energising the various cultural agencies in Nigeria to move from mere practitioners to Administrators,” while declaring the workshop open.
With participants drawn from NANTAP chapters across the country and institutional participation from the likes of NCAC, NICO, National Theatre, Lagos Council for Arts and Culture, among others, seven sessions, involving seasoned resource persons, were held.
Barrister Elvis Asia set the ball rolling as he took participants on an eye opening session with his lecture “Entertainment Law and Ethics”. He admonished participants to begin to take contractual agreement seriously, either as the contractor or the contractee, as this legality would ensure some level of professionalism in the sector. He also gave an overview of performance rights, image rights, copyrights, piracy and other related rights within the entertainment industry.
Professor Duro Oni`s session on “Leadership and Administrative Skill”, was a practical summation of the entire workshop. Mercy George-Igbafe, a representative of Leantor, took the participants through social media training with focus on Instagram as he looked at “Performing Arts and the Social Media in Marketing and Advocacy”. It was a fun and interactive learning moment with key focus on participants engagement, which helped in gauging participants knowledge of Instagram.
Dr. Patrick Fohl, a German Cultural Diplomacy specialist from Goethe institute, Germany, spoke on “Art as a Tool for Cultural Diplomacy”. Dr. Fohl’s lecture elicited some feelings of frustration from the Nigerian participants as he reeled out some aspects of Germany’s cultural policy and how this policy shapes Germany’s diplomatic policy around the world. Speaking on “Business and Financial Strategies for Marketing Nigerian Arts Locally and Globally”, Joseph Edgar, a theatre entrepreneur and investment banker, took the participants through strategies that would appeal to investors, corporate partners, advertisers and sponsors.
Professor of Theatre and Communication, from Nasarawa State University and Nigerian President of the International Association of Theatre Critics, Professor Emma Dandaura, in his lecture, “Overview of Cultural Administration in Nigeria”, highlighted administrative challenges as one of many adversaries of the cultural sector in Nigeria, while referencing the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the only one who came close to understanding the needs of the cultural sector in Nigeria in terms of funding, policy development and management.
The plenary session was quite stimulating. With three practitioners, who had consistently maintained a high level of sustained success in their practice, sharing their experiences with the participants. The likes of Mr. Joseph Omoibom, Producer at BAP Productions and General Manager of Terra Kulture; Mr. Fusi Olateru-Olagbegi, head of Programme at the British Council, and, of course, Mr. Femi Odugbemi, fta, founder and CEO of Zuri24 Media, known for his many groundbreaking productions, such as Tinsel and Battle Ground.
This session had a lot in common, given that the resource persons were talking from practical experiences and the issues raised resonated with the participants. Joseph Omoibom, drawing from his experience at the Terra Kulture and BAP Productions, emphasised the need to ensure corporate governance and record keeping. Mr. Femi Odugbemi corroborated the need to ensure corporate governance and advised participants against running their companies as “family” entities, while Fusi Olateru-Olagbegi, one of the brains behind the success of the Lagos Theatre Festival, schooled the participants on what grant giving organisations are looking for whenever they call for grant applications.