By Yinka Olatunbosun
The live show drought is coming to an end as the PAWSTUDIOS Nigeria announces the 2020 edition of the Lagos & Abuja Fringe Festivals at various venues across both cities. Lagos Fringe Festival is scheduled to hold from November 17 to 22 while Abuja Fringe Festival will hold from December 3 to 6. The festivals will bring together participants and facilitators from Mexico, Uganda, Belgium, Senegal, USA, Kenya, UK, South Africa, Canada, Brazil, Ghana, Portugal and Nigeria. Invitations for applications to participate in both festival experiences are out and entries are currently being collated for scheduling.
The Festival Director of the festivals, Kenneth Uphopho an ISPA Fellow and a founding member of the Guild of Theatre Directors Nigeria shed more light on the experience.
“This initiative follows our objective to strengthen our creative communities, promote inclusive participation and development via entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, youth engagement, and cultural exchange. We will deliver on this initiative through; showcasing and professional development. Lagos Fringe is in its third year now developing and engaging artistes. Abuja Fringe will also support artistes to present a creative mix of theatre, poetry, film, spoken word, magic, cabaret shows, exhibitions, literature, dance and music etc. in repurposed spaces and virtually. We also have some festival programmes that will focus on learning through a series of conversations, workshops and networking events all related to the festival theme,” he explains in a press statement.
With the current pandemic, the organizers of the festival have reviewed the programming for the multidisciplinary open access arts festivals to 50 percent virtual engagements and 50 percent physical interactions with social distancing measures in place. The programme which will be published on the website soon will include an official festival launch ceremony, live shows and plays, panel discussions, playwriting classes, screening of short and documentary films that will be selected from local and international film makers. The film screenings of all non-English films will have subtitles. There will be performances in music, spoken word, games, talent shows, alternative music concert & comedy. A few of the events will be free but the general idea is to be able to support and encourage artistes affected by Covid-19.
The Fringe Producer; Brenda Fashugba, an Obama leader who also sits as the convener for the Women in The Arts, stated that “The 2020 edition of Lagos Fringe Festival, following up on last year’s commitment, will also be presenting Awards to deserving members of the creative industry who have distinguished themselves as advocates in their respective fields. Past Winners include Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Tunde Kelani and Bayo Oduneye. The women in the arts initiative will run creative empowerment programmes for women during the festivals. We are also encouraging collaboration and co creation among artistes for shared resources due to the nature of the arts in the light of this pandemic. We are a strong community and we will rise above this, I can assure you. The virtual engagements will also include an exciting array of seminars, conferences and workshops. The discussions will tackle emerging arts, the future of the arts post-Covid as well as innovations to explore going forward.’’
The Lagos Fringe festival celebrations will coincide with the 10thAnniversary of its longtime partner, Freedom Park. Other partners include; Total Consult, Brighton Fringe, World Fringe, Goethe Institut, British Council and Temple Productions Limited. Box office will be officially launched digitally from October 2020.