SPANFEST: A World-class Stage for Nigerians


Mary Ekah

The Society for the Performing Arts in Nigeria (SPAN) has put all plans in place to hold its 2017 edition of SPANFEST. The annual festival of music, drama, poetry and dance is usually a weeklong event and also the group’s biggest activity for the year. Scheduled to hold from the November 18-23, 2017, the event is themed: ‘SPANFEST 2017: My Beat, My City (Iluu Mi, Ilu Mii)’. The festival is a modern day experience of the great “FESTAC 77” and SPAN, the organisers, say this year’s theme is in celebration of the 50-year-old vibrant existence of Lagos State.

The six-day event, which will hold at SPAN Agidigba Community Centre (workshops), the Muri Okunola Park, and The Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, respectively, will be presenting workshops, and events which will showcase performances and presentations in various forms of performing arts including dance, music, spoken word, theatre and dance competitions.

As part of its plan to take the festival audience on a ‘journey of wonders’, SPAN will be bringing together artistes to make ground-breaking presentations. The festival will showcase Nigerian artistes mixed up in alchemy that will inspire audiences, invigorate artistes, stimulate the industry and forge productive relationships around the globe.

Founder, SPAN, Mrs. Sarah Boulos, said, “After SPANFEST, there is a new programme coming up called, ‘Beyond the Unknowns’. The biggest challenge for her has been financing. “Every time you have to build the stage to look perfect and also pay people to dance,” she said.

The last two editions of the festival, according to Boulos, were for an exclusive crowd where people paid to attend virtually all the shows, but this time there are a couple of free shows. “Again, what makes this year’s edition different from the previous ones is that the workshop is all about Nigeria, it is about our beat and our city. This time, all the productions are local. So we are giving back to the city and for the city,” she said.

Events lined up for the festival include: Music, Theatre and Dance Workshop from 18 –23 November 2017 with the Opening/Award Night featuring the critically acclaimed cabaret masterpiece – ‘Swing & Jazz’, a fashion show, orchestra performance amongst others. Awards will be given out to deserving people in the performing arts industry who have contributed immensely to its growth on November 18; amongst other interesting events that would hold till November 23.

Society for the Performing Arts in Nigeria (SPAN), is a Non-Governmental Organisation set up in February 2005 with the aim of creating a world standard for performing arts education and expression in Nigeria. SPAN offers exceptional opportunities in dance, music, theatre and visual arts to talented Nigerian youths, by inspiring, training, and empowering them, so that their creativity is unleashed.

One of SPAN’s main objectives is the empowerment of youths with various opportunities through skill set development. In 10 years of existence, SPAN has consistently trained youths with appropriate skills and techniques that can help them build careers as well as facilitate the continuity of African art.

The SPANFEST vision is to continually create a world-class performing arts festival with the mission to train performing artistes in music, dance, drama and performing arts management, as well as present thought provoking productions and reward individuals who invested their talents to make transformational changes in the performing arts community.