From: Damiete Braide
The National Association of Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) will join the rest of the world to celebrate World Theatre Day (WTD) on Monday, March 27, at National Theatre, Orile-Iganmu, Lagos State, with the theme “Theatre Artistes for Proudly Nigeria” (TAPNigeria).
Interim National President of NANTAP, Isreal Eboh, in a chat with journalists at Freedom Park, Lagos Island, at the weekend, informed that during the celebration, there would be an advocacy roundtable conference tagged “Theatre, A Springboard for Effective Recovery from Economic Recession” with Ben Tomoloju, Toyin Akinosho, Greg Odutayo, Toyin Oshinaike, Tope Oshin as discussants; while Dr Tunji Azeez will moderate the session.
Eboh recalled that, in the last few years, the Nigerian theatre, through mostly individual efforts had experienced a rise in profile in both economic and entrepreneurial terms. Productions like Saro the Musical, Waka!, Heartbeat, Hear Word and Kakadu, he said, had captivated and enthralled audiences around the world, comparing them to the Sikulus and Lion Kings.
In his words,“If we must overcome recession, we must recognise the place of theatre and the whole entertainment industry as an alternative revenue generating source. Theatre will not only boost the economy but also create jobs for many youths roaming the streets. Today, the largest number of young millionaires worldwide are entertainers, yet government and corporate organisations continue to pay lip service to the sector.”
For our culture to be appreciated, Eboh said we must promote our history and culture through their teaching, adding,“Any nation that wishes to create a better tomorrow must teach its history of yesterday. As artistes, we urge the government as a matter of national interest bring the teaching of history in the educational system.”
He commended his members for operating in a most unpredictable and insensitive environment, even as he enjoined them to must work in a society where their function is considered premium.
He lamented that “a situation where government can classify the artiste as an artisan speaks volume of how we are perceived. A situation where corporate organisations regard theatre as a sector that should be merely tolerated through handout, shows how unenlightened they are about what artistes do and how they contribute to national development.”