The Lagos Fringe Festival (LFF) has received praise from the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) for giving emerging artists a platform over the previous five years.
This was said by Makinde Adeniran, NANTAP Secretary, during the Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos, fifth LFF opening.
Young artists are given a stage at the Lagos Fringe to showcase their work and grow as artists.
According to Adeniran, platforms like the LFF contribute in attracting new players to the market.
“Platform like this brings new entrants into the industry because Lagos Fringe is one of the few places where young people can express their arts.
“It is one of the big ones for us. We have so many, but gradually Lagos Fringe is standing out. Five years of consistency for us at the NANTAP.
“We value what Fringe is doing. In spite of our different challenges, we have to show up here to honour what Fringe is doing this evening, and particularly to stay in partnership.
“We thank you for what you are doing. We appreciate you. Call on us whenever you need our support. Platform like yours LFF are the ones giving credibility to us at NANTAP,” he said.
Kenneth Uphopho, the LFF’s director, also spoke in praise of the festival’s supporters throughout the previous five years.
“We are five years, five years of creative opportunities, showcasing exhibitions, capacity building, engagements, networking and making of super stars”.
According to Uphopho, the Lagos Theatre Festival provides a venue for emerging artists to showcase their work at least once every year.
He praised the LFF stakeholders and partners for their assistance and motivation over the years.
Ego Boyo, an actor and member of the LFF Board, also thanked the crowd.
She said: “It has been five years of creative opportunities of developing artistes, fostering collaborations and exhibitions.
“This is exactly what it is at Lagos Fringe. It is for wonderful opportunities. Lagos Fringe is affiliated with other Fringes the world over.
“I want to thank all our supporters, exhibitors, volunteers, and everyone that has been part of Lagos Fringe and welcome to this inter-disciplinary festival which happens annually.”
A lawyer and writer Aduke Gomez, said that the LFF has been bridging the gap in the creative industry.
“It means that it is getting to a wider audience. I can only wish them all the best. I should congratulate them for seeing the need, for seeing a gap and bridging it,” she said.
Brenda Uphopho, Co-founder of the Lagos Fringe, who also spoke, stated that the initiative, which was started in 2018 as an open-cave multidisciplinary arts event, has continued to grow significantly and draw attention.
“It has been five years, and it’s very emotional. Investing in Lagos Fringe five years ago was the most insane things we have ever done.
“Investing everything we had in the festival and we were down to the shirts, not even money for Christmas, not even for the children.
“Like everything that will be great and everything that will be wonderful and everything that will be fantastic and massive and beautiful, we are five years old.
“We had it very tough the first time. We owe it all to the team. We didn’t have anything left to pay the team. They mostly went without being paid.
“They have been awesome. I cannot thank them enough. The volunteers just believed in the dream and ran with it for five years,” she said.
She did, however, declare that she had joined the British Council of Nigeria and had taken a leave of absence from the Lagos Fringe Festival.
“I am not going to be actively working, actively producing for Fringe. I have joined the British Council Nigeria for now.
“I am the Head of the Arts for Nigeria and Lead for Creative Economy for sub-Saharan Africa. I have always wanted to be on the biggest scale on the biggest platform.
“I believe that God has called me to do this. So when I saw an opportunity to advance the gospel of theatre, to advance the gospel of the creative economy, I took it only because we have such a capable board.
“Don’t forget that this platform is for development; it is for young people to have the opportunity to be able to do their work. So it’s not the glossiest theatre pieces.
“Not the most famous, not the most well attended. It is being put together in a manner that you will enjoy.
“Even though I am taking a leave of absence, the standard, the quality and all things you know about the festival will still be there for you to enjoy,” she said.
The fifth Lagos Fringe Festival themed ‘New Narratives,’ will end on Nov. 27.